Is New Jersey Going to Miss Another Cannabis Deadline?

Sales were expected to begin in February, Now, regulators are dialing back the anticipation.

January 28, 2022

In New Jersey, adult-use cannabis sales have been on the calendar for Feb. 22: Opening Day in the state’s newly legalized marketplace.

Now, regulators are dialing back the anticipation.

“There’s still a lot to be done,” Jeff Brown, the executive director of the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission, told NJ Cannabis Insider this week. “Feb. 22 is not a concrete date to open. There is no firm commitment on timing of when recreational sales will begin.” 

Brown pointed to a lack of “municipal approval” as one major challenge to getting dispensaries up and running next month. Without local governments signing off on business owners’ license applications, that market cannot get off the ground for customers.

By and large, the businesses clamoring to open are the same ones already operating in the medical marketplace, and they’re insisting to state regulators that supply will not be an issue. Once they’re given the formal green light, those licensed businesses have told the local media that they’ll be ready to serve recreational customers right away.

There’s no enforcement mechanism for the Feb. 22; the date is more symbolic or aspirational than anything.

The hand-wringing over the adult-use sales timeline is an echo of the state’s license application deadline—which the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission missed back in September.