Retail sales of recreational marijuana on hold even as CRC approves conditional licenses

The wait continues. Retail sales of recreational marijuana in New Jersey have been delayed once again.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission filed to table certifications of medical operators to sell recreational marijuana, citing an unpreparedness to balance existing marijuana use for medical treatment and the launch of recreational consumption.

The commission had been scheduled to vote to allow an unknown number of medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling legal weed to recreational customers. Statute requires 30 days’ advance notice, leading many to believe sales could be set to begin in late April.

CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown testified that the operators are about 100,000 pounds too short on product to be able to support both a medical and adult-use market.

“Our goal is to work with the industry, and the industry to work with us, so at the very next CRC meeting we have a cohort of ATCs that are turn-key to launch this market here, simply pending a vote by this commission,” Brown said.

The CRC plans to visit the state’s eight alternative treatment centers in the coming weeks to evaluate if they can support both customer types.

New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Edmund DeVeaux viewed the delay as a step toward progress.

“This marks a huge milestone for New Jersey and the cannabis industry. By not rushing into this process and taking deliberate steps, the CRC has done it the right way,” DeVeaux  said. “We are now closer to achieving our goals around legislative and regulatory intent to ensure that social equity and minority and women candidates are prioritized. If this had all been rushed out sooner, we would have been farther away from reaching those goals.”

New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association, however, expressed its disappointment on the CRC’s announcement.

“When it comes down to it, it’s New Jersey’s citizens who are missing out. The adult-use market will be a huge boon to New Jersey’s economy. Additionally, this new industry is slated to create 19,000 new jobs, and taxes from a legal marketplace will support goals to promote social equity by providing economic assistance to impact zones that were disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs,” it said.

Separately on Thursday, the commission approved 68 conditional licenses for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing businesses, the first recreational licenses to officially be approved by the commission.