Marijuana retailers group forms, eyeing recreational legalization

One group is ready to turn marijuana into a booming business for New Jersey.

Anticipating legalization of the drug for recreational use, the New Jersey Marijuana Retailers Association is ready to work with other stakeholders to shepherd in responsible business practices and opportunities.

“Our goal is to have our members represent the most respected, business-focused and compliance-driven class of the licensed, marijuana-retailer businesses,” said association President Juan Carlos Negrin. “The NJMRA was formed with a mission to advocate, educate and to deal with legislative, licensing and regulatory issues affecting the marijuana retail industry at the state level.”

The association sees substantial economic opportunity for a number of industries, small business owners and entrepreneurs. These include farmers, growers and harvesters, the trucking industry, and suppliers, wholesalers and retailers.

With incoming Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and residents in favor of legalizing pot for recreational use, the association says the time is right.

A Quinnipiac University poll in September showed 59 percent of state voters support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. About 38 percent were against it.

“With this polling data showing strong support to take marijuana sales out of the black market,” association Director Lorna O’Hara said, “we are forming this association to ensure not only that the retailers have a seat at the table, but also that their voice is heard. At the same time, we are setting the highest standard for those business owners who choose to be retailers in this industry.”

New Jersey, where medical marijuana is legal, would join seven states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use, joining Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington, Alaska, Maine, California and Nevada.

The industry is on track to post $20.2 billion in sales by 2021, according to