(Bloomberg) — New Jersey’s first recreational pot sale got approval from a state regulatory board on Monday. Retail marijuana sales can begin in as little as 30 days.
The State Cannabis Regulatory Commission allowed seven medical marijuana dispensaries to expand. Sale is limited to buyers 21 years of age and older. TerrAscend Corp., Curaleaf Holdings Inc., and Green Thumb Industries Inc. Applications were approved from companies including.
Prior to the vote, through a well-conducted hearing, the companies confirmed readiness to maintain supplies for medical-marijuana users. Most will prioritize parking, telephone lines and staff for those users, and some have home-delivery plans.
Brian Sikora, general manager of Acreage Holdings Inc., said medical customers can expect a service similar to “elite status in a hotel.” Acreage, along with Columbia Care Inc., Verano Holdings and Ascend Wellness Holdings, were also approved for pot sales.
“They have shown everyone that they have the necessary local approvals to support this expansion,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the Cannabis Commission, said of the approved companies.
The move puts New Jersey sellers in an important starting position to capture the lucrative New York City-area market. The state of New York has legalized pot but has not yet licensed the sellers. Recreational weed is not legal at the federal level or in neighboring Pennsylvania. Connecticut retail operations are not expected until the end of the year.
Before sales begin, companies must have an operating appraisal, fees paid and licenses obtained. According to the commission, this could take around 30 days.
Before the vote, legal weed in New Jersey was limited to 128,136 people who carried cards certifying physician-approved requirements. Last month, the Cannabis Board of New Jersey took its first formal crackdown on recreational marijuana applications, approving 68 conditional licenses to cultivate, manufacture or run a testing laboratory. But it stopped allowing companies to sell the product.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a 64-year-old Democrat whose second term began in January, promised to legalize the sale of marijuana in his first 100 days in office in 2018. However, MPs could not agree on how to proceed, and pushed the matter to the ballot. About 70% of voters approved a constitutional change, allowing retail sales to begin in January. 1, 2021, but the regulatory process got delayed.
Cities in the most densely populated US state of New Jersey can opt out of retail cannabis sales, and most municipalities have opted not to allow. Nevertheless, pot will be available in the two largest municipalities, Newark and Jersey City, both with New York City train access. It will also be available in Atlantic City, whose casinos are showing signs of revival after years of decline.
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