New Jersey's adult-use retailers blew past $100 million in sales for the first time this summer, according to data from the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC).
The Garden State kicked off its adult-use industry this spring – on the day after 4/20 – by allowing 13 medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling weed to any adult. Despite the inauspicious start, dispensaries sold nearly $2 million worth of recreational bud during that first weekend of sales. By the time the second fiscal quarter closed out in June, retailers had raked in a solid $79.7 million in recreational sales.
The state's first exclusive adult-use shops started opening their doors this summer, and the increased access to weed helped push sales to record heights. During the 3rd quarter of 2022, adult-use retailers sold a record $116.6 million worth of legal bud - a 46% increase over the second quarter. State tax officials have yet to release data for this quarter's collections, but they received around $5 million in tax revenue on the first $80 million of adult-use sales. So this quarter’s tax collections are also expected to set a new record.
Many other adult-use states have seen medical marijuana sales plummet as soon as their adult-use markets came online, but that's not the case in New Jersey. Between July and September, dispensaries sold $61.1 million worth of medical pot, up from $59.3 million in the second quarter of 2022. These consistent sales helped boost the state's combined third-quarter cannabis total to $177.7 million, setting yet another record for the state.
“New Jersey is only seeing the beginning of what is possible for cannabis,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, in a statement. “We have now awarded 36 annual licenses for cannabis businesses to New Jersey entrepreneurs, including 15 for dispensaries. Those businesses alone will be a significant growth of the market. With more locations and greater competition, we expect the customer base to grow and prices to come down.”
Cannabis lovers will soon be able to share their legally-bought weed with their friends in public, too. Earlier this month, NJ-CRC signed off on new regulations for public cannabis consumption lounges. Regulators will allow businesses to open legal pot lounges in indoor or outdoor enclosed areas as long as they refrain from selling alcohol, tobacco, or food. Customers will be allowed to bring their own bud and snacks, though.
“We are looking forward to seeing local, small business owners participate in this lucrative market,” said NJ-CRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou in a press release. “Our priority application process as well as new initiatives like the no-cost Cannabis Training Academy being launched by New Jersey Business Action Center in early 2023 are paving that path for them to be included.”