Next week, cannabis users in New Jersey will be doubling down on their usual 4/20 celebrations: on April 21, adults over 21 will be able to buy recreational marijuana legally without a medical card.
It’s been a long time coming for New Jersey, which legalized marijuana in November 2020. Yet it’s one that the state’s cannabis community is greeting with great anticipation and fervor.
“This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” said New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Executive Director Jeff Brown, in a public statement announcing the official market rollout. “New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to have access to adult-use cannabis and it is now here. I am very proud of the work the Commission has done over the past year to open the market.”
In accordance with the CREAMM Act, which establishes a licensing system for marijuana businesses, medicinal cannabis companies will be among the first to open the recreational market. Each will be assessed for its diversity in hiring and management, support for community programs, the number of new and local businesses to which they provide technical support and the percentage of minority-owned vendors or suppliers with which they contract. Dispensary scores will be posted and updated regularly on the NJ-CRC’s website.
Wesley McWhite III, NJ-CRC’s director of diversity and inclusion, noted how New Jersey is placing a top priority on social equity when issuing licenses to cannabis businesses.
“We know that drug prohibition laws have through history disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities – and continue to do so,” he said. “A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership and these companies that have been benefitting from the market for the past 12 years – and are now expanding into the lucrative recreational space – have a role in helping to accomplish that.”
A list of the establishments that will open on April 21 will be posted on the Commission’s site.