How Did New Jersey's Legal Weed Launch Go?

Stephen Andrews
03 May 2022

End of April marked the much-anticipated launch of New Jersey's recreational cannabis market. The date for the start of legal retail was announced just a week prior to the launch. It turned out to be Thursday, the day after the unofficial cannabis holiday "420." According to state officials, adult-use products were supplied at 12 dispensaries, and sales reached nearly $2 million in a single day.

Official estimates show that 12,438 customers showed up on the first day of legal weed sales in New Jersey. "421," as the day became known, grossed almost $1.9 million. 

In anticipation of the opening, crowds queued at dispensaries, with some people showing up before 6 a.m. 

"We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of legal marijuana purchases," one customer told local media. 

"It's funny that, we're all brought here because of cannabis," said another.

The launch of legal adult-use cannabis retail did not interfere with the sales of medical cannabis products in the Garden State. According to officials, medical goods performed well over the last month. Roughly 64,000 ounces of medicinal goods were dispensed to patients and caregivers. 

New Jersey's Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the agency that oversees state regulation on cannabis, said in a statement it had investigated only a few minor complaints and heard of "no significant patient access issues or supply shortages." 

"We expected sales to be substantial and the data shows that the market is effectively serving both adult-use consumers and patients," said Jeff Brown, the executive director of the regulatory agency. 

"We continue to monitor inventory and access for patients and are prepared to take enforcement action against any ATC that does not meet the requirements for patient access and supply," Brown said. 

Brown added in his statement: "We encourage everyone to be safe by buying only from licensed dispensaries and by starting low and going slow — especially those who are new to cannabis or who haven't consumed cannabis in a long time.

"Also, remember that the laws against impaired driving apply to being high. Our guests from neighboring states should remember it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines," Brown said. 

New Jersey launched its legal recreational cannabis market 17 months after voters approved a ballot measure to change the state constitution and allow legal adult-use consumption of marijuana flower and other products. 

New Jersey is the 18th state in the U.S. to legalize the sale of adult-use cannabis to consumers 21 and older. State officials have so far received over 300 applications for retail cannabis licenses. 

Stephen Andrews