On Thursday, 21 April, the US state of New Jersey officially started the legal sale of medical marijuana to individuals 21 years and older. Currently the state has 13 dispensaries that are allowed to sell cannabis for medical use.
According to reports by Reuters, lines outside the dispensaries were long and many residents cued to be able to purchase medical marijuana both for themselves and loved ones.
Thursday’s launch marked the completion of a decade-long campaign by supporters in the state to legalise the sale of marijuana and put an end to years of racially disparate criminal prosecution. New Jersey is one of 18 states that has allowed marijuana usage for adults.
Ascend Wellness Holdings Inc (AAWH.PK), Columbia Care Inc (CCHW.NLB), Acreage Holdings Inc (ACRGau.CD), Green Thumb Industries Inc (GTII.CD), Curaleaf Holdings Inc (CURA.CD), Terrascend Corp (TER.CD), and Verano Holdings Corp are the owners of the 13 facilities.
Analysts and industry executives predict that the market will eventually approach $2 billion. In fiscal year of 2023, Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed budget predicts $121 million in cannabis revenue will have streamed in, largely from taxes and fees.
In New Jersey, there are presently 130 000 medicinal marijuana users, and the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission estimates that there are approximately 800 000 potential recreational marijuana buyers.
“The goal here is to take people away from the black market and bring them into the safe, legal market,” said George Archos, chief executive of Verano, which is the owner of the Zen Leaf, another medical marijuana dispensary, in Lawrence.
For the time being, only medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to sell to adults, although the commission is considering hundreds of applications from new firms. Those owned by people who have been convicted of marijuana offences, as well as minorities, women, and handicapped veterans, are given preference under the statute.
The law mandates that a significant portion of the state’s cannabis earnings be invested in communities that have been affected by the “war on drugs.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, black persons were arrested more than three times as often as white people for marijuana charges in 2018, despite identical usage rates.