New Jersey's new adult-use market sold nearly $2 million worth of legal weed to over 12,000 customers on the very first day of sales.
After years of interminable delays, Garden State officials finally authorized 13 medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling recreational weed to adults on April 21st. And even though this day came immediately after the 4/20 weed holiday, Jersey residents were more than happy to step up and cop some legal bud.
Only 12 of the 13 licensed dispensaries were able to open their doors to customers last week, but these stores still managed to meet the massive demand for weed. By day's end, these shops sold nearly $1.9 million worth of recreational pot to 12,438 customers, according to a new report by the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC).
Industry stakeholders were concerned that these dozen dispensaries would not have enough pot on hand to serve both the medical and the recreational markets, but supply held strong. On 4/20, the state's medical dispensaries sold around 5,400 ounces of medical pot to a mob of patients who were hoping to beat a potential supply shortage. But even after adult-use sales began, dispensaries were still able to serve another 7,500 ounces of medical pot to patients.
“We expected sales to be substantial and the data shows that the market is effectively serving both adult-use consumers and patients,” said Jeff Brown, CRC executive director, according to NJBiz. “We continue to monitor inventory and access for patients and are prepared to take enforcement action against any ATC that does not meet the requirements for patient access and supply.”
Of course, the Garden State probably could have sold a lot more weed if regulators had approved more adult-use retailers. “About 10,000 people spent an average of $200 each last week,” said cannabis activist Chris Goldstein to the New Jersey Monitor. “Costly prices, limited selections, and purchase limits may have resulted in somewhat timid opening day numbers. But if New Jersey had held out to open 100 locations, we might have seen more like $200 million in sales instead of $2 million.”
Coordinating 100 adult-use stores to all open on the same day is a feat that no adult-use state has yet to pull off, though. New Jersey's first-day sales are on par with New Mexico, which moved $1.96 million worth of legal bud on its first day of legal sales this month. And even though local border police have threatened to keep arresting people for weed, New Mexico stoners spent more than $5 million at legal pot shops during the first weekend of sales.
New Jersey weed regulators do eventually expect to issue at least 100 adult-use licenses, but it remains to be seen how long this process will take. Until then, medical dispensaries will need to keep serving registered patients, local recreational buyers, and pot tourists from neighboring states looking to grab some top-shelf legal bud.