New Jersey has just seen the launch of its first thirteen over-the-counter cannabis retail outlets following the legalization of recreational cannabis use in the state. The launch drew big crowds, with some businesses making an event out of it. New Jersey now joins the eighteen US states where recreational cannabis use is authorized. Neighboring state New York is yet to legalize it.
Queues formed early Thursday morning in front of the first businesses authorized to sell over-the-counter cannabis freely in New Jersey, a new American state to take the plunge at the gates of New York, which is still waiting its turn.
New Jersey now joins the eighteen US States where recreational cannabis use has been authorized. More are sure to follow, including neighboring New York, and we will cover all developments here and in our free cannabis news app.
Over-The-Counter Cannabis Draws Big Crowds
As of 6 a.m., in Bloomfield, less than an hour’s drive from Manhattan, customers were queuing in front of the modern hangar-shaped building of the Rise brand, noted an AFP photographer.
For the occasion, donuts were offered and a reggae track came out of the speakers in front of the over-the-counter cannabis shop, already authorized to sell cannabis on medical prescription but which can now serve all adults over 21 years old.
Thirteen Businesses Authorized for Over-The-Counter Cannabis Sales
The thirteen over-the-counter cannabis businesses authorized to open Thursday “assured us that they were ready to meet demand without disrupting patient access (on medical prescription), and with minimal impact on the neighborhood, but patience will be crucial”, New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Director Jeff Brown predicted in a statement.
“Do not drive if you are stoned”, warned Tuesday this same commission. And its director recalls that “our friends in neighboring states must know that it is illegal to transport cannabis from one state to another”.
Recreational Cannabis Authorized Following a Referendum
New Jersey, a state of nearly 9 million people at the gates of New York, had approved by referendum in November 2020 the recreational use of cannabis.
In New York, if its consumption is tolerated under certain conditions, its sale remains for the moment authorized only on medical prescription. Over-the-counter cannabis sales are expected in the months to come.
The State of Legal Cannabis in the United States
Eighteen of the 50 American states, as well as the capital Washington, have legalized the use of cannabis for recreational use for adults. And its medicinal use is legal in most states.
According to a Democratic bill to remove cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs at the federal level, the market for over-the-counter cannabis is expected to exceed $40 billion by 2025.
Taxes on the sale of cannabis brought in some $3.7 billion in 2021.
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