When voters opted to legalize marijuana in New Jersey in November 2020, insiders expected the pot-loving public would be able to buy recreational weed right around now.
But at the monthly meeting of the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission Thursday, the man overseeing the industry’s creation in New Jersey said the state is still far from commercial sales of marijuana.
Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, put the blame on entrepreneurs, saying those who have applied to open recreational dispensaries haven’t provided proof of municipal buy-in, as they were required to do by Jan. 6.
More than 400 towns — about 71% of the state’s municipalities — have passed ordinances prohibiting cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, delivery, and dispensing, according to a USA Today Network analysis of municipal marijuana ordinances. Only about 100 municipalities — primarily in South and Central Jersey — have passed ordinances allowing legal weed dispensaries, the analysis found.
Another hurdle is a requirement that applicants show they can meet medical demand for marijuana, and still have enough for recreational buyers, Brown said. Some applicants have not shown they can meet operational capacity, ensure patients get served first, and expand access if demand soars higher than expected, Brown added.
“There’s a level of frustration here at the commission,” he said. “There’s an effort to pressure us to move forward in a way that’s not compliant with the law. That’s just simply not going to happen.”
Brown did not offer a date when he thinks sales will start. But regulators now are in the process of reviewing applications; running criminal background checks; checking certifications of businesses said to be owned by minorities, women, or veterans; and otherwise investigating applicants, according to the commission.
New Jersey Monitor is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Jersey Monitor maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Terrence McDonald for questions: [email protected] Follow New Jersey Monitor on Facebook and Twitter.
- Commentary: It’s time for Biden to keep his promises on cannabisPaul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), calls on President Joe Biden to live up to the pledges made during his campaign regarding cannabis legalization.
- Unofficial totals show Missouri cannabis legalization initiative shortAn initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in Missouri will need help if it is going to be on the November ballot. Reports from every county in the state show the petition is short of its goal in two of the six congressional districts needed to qualify for the ballot.
- Fate of Missouri cannabis initiative unclear as signature count continuesWhether Missouri voters will get a chance to legalize recreational marijuana in November is still in question. The latest incomplete tabulations show the Legal Missouri 2022 initiative is short of the necessary signatures in four of the six Congressional districts necessary to make the ballot.
- ACLU of NV suit to deschedule cannabis statewide survives challengeA legal effort by the ACLU of Nevada to force the Nevada Board of Pharmacy to remove cannabis from its Schedule 1 of controlled substances will proceed, Clark County Judge Joe Hardy ruled Wednesday when he denied the board’s motion to dismiss the ACLU’s lawsuit.
- Advocates, parents ‘beg’ Nebraskans to seek out and sign petition to legalize medical cannabisAdvocates for legalizing medical marijuana switched Wednesday from urging Nebraskans to sign their petition to begging them as a July 7 deadline looms to submit signatures to qualify for the ballot in November.
- Iowans launch cannabis reform campaign aimed at showing public supportRobert “Lewy” Lewis of Windsor Heights has been in pain since 1974, when he had spinal surgery at the age of 21. To repair a blockage in his spine, surgeons removed eight inches of his vertebrae and then sewed them back on, using about 300 steel stitches.
- Big Apple Cannabis: CWCB Returns to New York City for Eighth Year“No one seems to have gotten it right.” Mayor Eric Adams told a Friday afternoon crowd, of legal cannabis in America. “This is our chance to get it right.” New York City’s mayor addressed attendees of the 2022 Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo) on the second day of the three-day event. Adams stressed the social equity focus of New York’s cannabis program.
- Nebraska medical cannabis backers file legal challenge to petition processSupporters of medical marijuana in Nebraska have launched a legal challenge to the state’s requirement that 5% of registered voters in at least 38 counties sign a petition to get the measure before voters on the ballot.
- N.J. lawmakers seek to curb cannabis useAs New Jersey nears the end of its first month of legal recreational marijuana sales, lawmakers have introduced a series of bills aimed at restricting what types of workers can use cannabis off the job.
- Missouri House votes to require disclosure of medical cannabis ownership recordsThe Missouri House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to require state regulators to disclose ownership information for businesses granted medical marijuana licenses that the state has withheld from public view.