New Jersey Celebrates Cannabis Success While Neighbour New York Struggles

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding New Jersey and New York Cannabis Markets:

  1. Sales in NJ show a robust 38% increase, signaling market growth.
  2. NJ’s market thrives with over 130 dispensaries opening in 2024.
  3. NY’s slow cannabis market rollout contrasts sharply with NJ’s boom.

According to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC), cannabis sales have significantly risen in New Jersey. This increase highlights the growing market and shows that more consumers are choosing regulated cannabis products. The thriving cannabis industry in New Jersey mirrors larger trends that have important effects on both consumers and businesses.

In the first quarter of 2024, New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market saw sales exceed $201 million, marking a 38% increase from the previous year. From January to March 2023, sales were driven by 24 licensed dispensaries. By the same period in 2024, the number of dispensaries had risen to 130. It looks like New Jersey is on its way to becoming the next $1 Billion dollar state cannabis market.

The cannabis holiday weekend of 4/20 also set new records for sales. On April 19, New Jersey residents purchased over $4 million worth of recreational cannabis flower and products. Sales continued to climb the following day, reaching more than $5.2 million on April 20. Together with Sunday’s sales and medicinal sales throughout the three days, total weekend sales approached $12.5 million in both recreational and medicinal cannabis.

Jeff Brown, the Executive Director of the NJ-CRC, commented on the impressive growth in the sector. “The significant growth in sales year over year is an indication of the strong potential of New Jersey’s cannabis market,” he stated. Brown also highlighted the positive effects of new market entrants and the decreasing stigma around cannabis. “We anticipate that as more dispensaries open across the state, new brands are introduced, and cannabis becomes less stigmatized, sales numbers will continue to rise.”

The increase in cannabis sales is not just about higher numbers but also about broader acceptance of cannabis in everyday commerce and culture. Dianna Houenou, Chair of the NJ-CRC, further emphasized the shift towards a safer and more regulated environment. “The rising sales figures show a shift in consumer behavior as more people opt for the safety and reliability of the regulated market over untested or dubious products,” Houenou explained.

The state of New Jersey has been proactive in ensuring that the growth of its cannabis market is balanced with a commitment to fairness and safety. Brown expressed his pride in the progress made, particularly in supporting local businesses and promoting equity. “We are very excited to see all the new local businesses that have come online and are participating in this thriving market. I’m particularly proud that we have been able to support this progress while staying committed to fairness, equity, and safety,” he said.

Across the Hudson River in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul has initiated a thorough review of the state’s cannabis business licensing process in response to significant delays in the opening of legal cannabis outlets. Since the enactment of the law three years ago, just over 80 licensed stores have opened, which contrasts sharply with the more than 2,000 illegal cannabis shops operating across the state.

The first full year of legal cannabis sales in New York ended with licensed dispensaries generating approximately $150 million in revenue. In 2024, the rollout of New York’s recreational cannabis market has accelerated, with around 50 new licensed dispensaries opening this year. However, the total of about 85 licensed retailers is still significantly outnumbered by illegal operators estimated to be over 2000 stores.

The growth of the cannabis market in New Jersey is a testament to the state’s innovative approach to regulation and its commitment to creating a safe and equitable market environment compared to New York which has struggled to stop the thriving illegal storefront cannabis market. Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.

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