Apr. 1, 2022 -- New Jersey will begin recreational marijuana sales for ages 21 and older on April 21.
Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement on Thursday, just days after state regulators allowed permits for seven facilities that already sell medical cannabis to begin selling recreational marijuana, including at 13 retail dispensaries.
“This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
In 2020, New Jersey voters approved a ballot question to allow recreational marijuana for ages 21 and older. Last year, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission began operating.
Now New Jersey and 17 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational marijuana, The Associated Press reported. New Jersey is also among 37 states that have legalized medical marijuana.
New Jersey’s recreational sales are starting this spring ahead of New York, which isn’t expected to start until the end of the year.
Among the seven facilities in New Jersey, which are also called alternative treatment centers, three are located in the northern part of the state, three are in the south and one is in the central region.
To receive approval, the facilities have agreed that recreational sales won’t interfere with access for medical cannabis patients. The centers will reserve parking spaces for patients and maintain hours specifically for patients only.
New Jersey has about 130,000 medical marijuana patients, along with an estimated 800,000 potential recreational consumers and about 800,000 “tourism” consumers.
The seven facilities are also required to meet “social equity standards,” such as providing technical knowledge to new marijuana businesses that want to enter the market. The regulation is meant to help social equity applicants located in parts of the state with lower economic advantages.
State legislation also calls for a 6.625% sales tax, with 70% of proceeds going to areas that are disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests. Towns can also levy a tax of up to 2% on the sales.
“We remain committed to social equity,” Dianna Houenou, the regulatory commission chair, said in a statement.
“We promised to build this market on the pillars of social equity and safety,” she said. “Ultimately, we hope to see businesses and a workforce that reflect the diversity of the state, and local communities that are positively impacted by this new and growing industry.”
On New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission website, people can locate a dispensary, apply for a license and find information about upcoming commission meetings.