New Jersey adult-use marijuana market caught in a ‘doom loop,’ trade group says

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New Jersey’s adult-use marijuana market is caught in a “doom loop,” and the regulatory commission is responsible for the problems, according to a report by the state’s Cannabis Trade Association.

The report shows the slow pace of licensing, delta-8 THC products and poor enforcement of the illicit market means the state is losing out on millions in tax revenue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Jeff Brown, executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), said the agency is transparent about timelines.

“We understand that business owners have to make decisions, and we try to be up front with expectations so that people can plan accordingly,” he told the newspaper.

According to the Inquirer:

  • More than 2,000 cannabis business applications have been submitted since December 2021.
  • About 400 are still being processed and 1,399 have been approved, Brown said.
  • Applicants can expect to wait three to six months for a license approval.
  • The CRC is allowed by law to extend its 30-day deadline because of the high number of applications.

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association estimates the state’s retailers will generate $38.4 million in tax revenue, which the group said is below markets of a similar size.

New Jersey’s licensed stores sold $306 million worth of cannabis products in the first half of this year.

Maryland, which has a smaller population, sold $21 million in its first week of adult-use sales and $80 million in its first month.

Since launching its adult-use marijuana market in 2022, New Jersey has licensed 37 adult-use stores and 13 medical cannabis dispensaries.

By the end of 2023, Brown said, the state will have 50 adult-use retailers.