New Jersey gives adult-use marijuana green light to 7 multistate operators

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More than a half-dozen existing medical marijuana operators in New Jersey – all large multistate operators – soon will be launching the state’s projected billion-dollar adult-use market.

At a special meeting Monday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) gave the green light to seven vertically integrated companies to start recreational marijuana sales, pending final approvals including an operational assessment by regulators.

There is no specific timeline for those final details to be completed and for sales to start, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said.

The seven approved MSOs are:

  • Acreage Holdings, based in New York.
  • Ascend Wellness, headquartered in New York.
  • Columbia Care, based in New York. Columbia Care is in the process of being acquired by Illinois-based Cresco Labs.
  • Curaleaf Holdings, headquartered in Massachusetts.
  • Green Thumb Industries, based in Illinois.
  • TerrAscend, with offices in Toronto and New York.
  • Verano Holdings, based in Illinois.

MJBizDaily projects that New Jersey recreational marijuana sales will gradually build from $625 million-$775 million in 2022 to more than $2 billion a year by 2025 or 2026.

The seven companies operate a combined 13 dispensaries across the state.

The decision sparked concern by one of those speaking at the public meeting about the ability of the 13 stores to handle adult-use demand – including demand from neighboring Pennsylvania residents – while still serving medical patients.

Brown, in making the recommendation to the commission members, said the seven companies had satisfied the requirements to move forward, including proving they have supply and plans in place to ensure access for the state’s 120,000 medical marijuana patients.

But Brown recommended that companies be fined $10,000 a day should they fail to preserve MMJ patient supply.

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The seven operators presented their plans Monday to conserve MMJ patient access. Those plans include home delivery, curbside pickup and flexible hours.

Only a couple of weeks ago, regulators balked at approving the operators for adult use, saying the companies lacked adequate plans for safeguarding supply and access to MMJ patients.

Brown noted Monday that the companies also have made commitments to provide support to equity businesses, hire a diverse workforce and use diverse vendors and suppliers.