New Jersey legal recreational cannabis sales will launch on April 21, state officials announced Friday.
Following a series of setbacks and 17 months after New Jerseyans chose to legalize the use of recreational cannabis in a ballot measure, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission recently approved 34 conditional licenses and agreed that seven of the state’s 10 medical cannabis companies can begin sales.
The state regulator agreed to issue licenses to seven medical marijuana dispensaries, officially known as alternative treatment centers, that will also sell recreational weed beginning on April 21.
The seven treatment centers are allowed to sell adult-use cannabis at 13 incumbent medical stores across the state. It is up to each of them to decide when they will open.
While operators anticipate a jump in traffic flow to their stores, Cantor Fitzgerald’s analyst Pablo Zuanic said that initially, the market “may develop slowly,” with “only a few stores” selling recreational marijuana.
Out of seven cannabis operators, it seems that Acreage Holdings, Inc. ACRG ACRGF, Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. CURA CURLF and TerrAscend Corp. TER TRSSF are best positioned to supply third-party stores, the analyst said in his latest note.
“Most of their store SKUs are own brands, and their brands show up in 3rd party store menus,” Zuanic said.
He added that the third-party brands account for over 80% of SKUs at Columbia Care Inc. CCHW CCHW CCHWF and Ascend Wellness AAWH AAWH retail locations and for 70% at stores run by Verano Holdings Corp. VRNO VRNOF and Green Thumb Industries GTBIF GTII.
Ascend will kick off sales at one store, while the other six operators will have two stores each selling recreational cannabis.
Zuanic said that these companies “may or may not” wrap up the year with three recreational stores each, depending on a “township approval, DOT approval, and build-out plans.”
Taking into account additional nine stores from other operators — Ayr Wellness AYRWF and privately owned Harmony and Breakwater — New Jersey could end 2022 with 30 stores selling adult-use cannabis.
That’s “well below the 100+ stores states like IL and AZ had in their first year of rec sales,” the analyst said.
When Will Newcomers Become Operational?
With the state’s regulatory commission still being in the review phase for future recreational cannabis retail licenses, Zuanic said the new stores selling marijuana in New Jersey won’t open until 2023.
“The new medical licensees (only issued in late 2021) will need to operate at least for year as medical alternative treatment centers (ATCs), the analyst said.