New Jersey legislators passed initial rules on Aug. 19, laying the foundation for the state’s retail cannabis market.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission met to discuss and pass rules that will regulate the state’s adult cannabis trade. The move came in response to Governor Phil Murphy’s August 21 deadline, which was postponed in February.
Legislators will decide when the “garden state” can officially begin the legal sale of cannabis. New Jersey residents don’t have to wait too long, however, as the commission must select a date within 180 days of August 19th.
Under the new regulations, adults 21 and older can buy and own up to an ounce of cannabis, but home growing would not be allowed, which is one of the main targets of activists who are usually targeted.
Three license categories are developed to promote social justice by supporting businesses owned by minorities, women, or based in an economically difficult area. Six main license categories have been identified: breeders, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, and delivery services. According to the new rules, giving away cannabis is legal for adults aged 21 and over.
There will be no license restrictions – with the exception of cultivators, which are set at 37 but which will expire on February 22, 2023.
With a medical marijuana industry already in place, the state is one step ahead when it comes to ironing out the details of recreational sales. Medical marijuana companies can grow, process, and sell cannabis to the general public as long as they have the appropriate license. Of course, these organizations will need enough cannabis to meet both New Jersey medical cannabis patients and the needs of the public.
As we’ve seen in other states, demand can far exceed expectations: for example, when Illinois first legalized cannabis, the state ran out of cannabis within six days of allowing recreational cannabis sales. It’s not clear whether New Jersey’s medical program has enough cannabis to meet demand.
We know that nearly half of New Jersey’s cities have already decided not to allow retail cannabis at this early stage of state industry. In other words, New Jersey residents are extremely unlikely to have any trouble driving a few miles to a neighboring city to get legal weed. Cities cannot ban delivery sales under the new rules.
Many New Jersey cities will refuse to sell until the rules are in place
The August 21 deadline also requires cities that allow cannabis sales to set a number of small details in their local markets. For example, how many companies they allow, whether or not they want to restrict sales on the border with other cities, etc.
Since there are no hard and fast rules, many officials have simply chosen to get out of the market. However, instead of ignoring the potential of recreational sales, these officials just want to wait and see how the industry works in the first year.
One of the difficulties with this is that the commission meeting only takes place two days before the congregations have a chance to weigh the rules at all. This does not leave much time to consider what the best maneuver for a community is.
But even if a city decides not to operate in the market for the time being, it can participate at any time.
When passed, these laws are enacted immediately and last for one year. This gives ample time for the rules to play out and the commission to determine what changes are needed in the future.
If you want to learn more about the rules of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, you can keep an eye out for live updates on their website.