N.J. approves another round of recreational cannabis retailers

Customers line up inside a Curaleaf dispensary, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Bellmawr, N.J. Recreational sales of cannabis for adults 21 and older started Thursday, with the first alternative treatment centers opening at 6 a.m. in part of the state. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Customers line up inside a Curaleaf dispensary, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Bellmawr, N.J. Recreational sales of cannabis for adults 21 and older started Thursday, with the first alternative treatment centers opening at 6 a.m. in part of the state. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Five more recreational cannabis dispensaries will be opening in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved five medical marijuana dispensaries applications to sell recreational cannabis on Tuesday. All five stores are in North Jersey; in Union, North Woodbridge, Ascend’s in Montclair, TerrAscend’s in Lodi, and AYR Wellness’ in Eatontown.

The CRC said those sites should be able to open within the next few weeks.

Another legal medical cannabis store is opening on Wednesday, May 25 at 10 a.m.; Curaleaf’s site in Edgewater Park.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The CRC also granted a wave of conditional approvals to cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers.

There were a total of 46 conditional license awardees: 22 class I cultivator applicants, 13 class II manufacturer applicants, and 11 retailer applicants.

Four testing labs were also approved on Tuesday. Those will start operating under recreational cannabis regulations.

The CRC received a mountain of applications to enter the booming industry according to Jeff Brown, CRC executive director.

“The interest in getting into this industry is tremendous. And certainly, we’re working to move all those forward,” Brown said.

According to Brown, the CRC has received over 1,000 applications since it began accepting them for cultivators, manufacturers, and testing laboratories on Dec. 15, and for retailers on March 15.

The first round of recreational retailers have been open for about a month. Total sales across all existing 12 dispensaries in the state, for the first month, totaled $24 million.

“It’s really only a beginning,” Brown said. “It shows there’s a lot of growth left in this market. There’s a lot of opportunity left in this market still… We anticipate that this will ramp up.”

The Commission also gave its approval for expediting the process for medicinal cannabis retailers to expand into recreational sales.

Previously, medicinal retailers had to wait one year to expand into recreational sales. Now, once you “prove you can serve patients and meet those expansion standards in our recreational rules… then awardees would be eligible to apply for expansion under those rules,” Brown said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal