PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The timeline to buy legal weed in the Garden State has moved up. Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Thursday on social media.
Starting on April 21st, adults ages 21+ will be able to legally purchase cannabis and cannabis products without a medical card.
This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry. Learn more: https://t.co/MsSRlUBPZ8.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 14, 2022
It was thought sales would begin in about two weeks at the earliest. Now they’re set to begin in a week.READ MORE: Former Giants CB James Bradberry Agrees To Terms On 1-Year Deal With Philadelphia Eagles
It may feel like it’s been weeks, but it was in fact just Monday of this week that New Jersey gave the OK for recreational cannabis sales. At that time, many thought two to four weeks would be the timeline before those sales commenced. Instead., next Thursday is the big day.
“That 30-day clock never actually applied to the existing alternative treatment centers like Verano,” Verano Executive Vice President Jame Leventis said.
And so, establishments in the state which are already licensed to sell medicinal marijuana can sell it recreationally as well beginning April 21.
“We’ve been prepared for many, many months. We’ve been ramping up production, our cultivation, our manufacturing facility. We’ve been staffing up at our dispensaries and laying the groundwork for how we’re going to control traffic and how we’re gonna deal with the surge of new personal-use customers that we’re expecting to see next week,” Leventis said.
As for concerns about crowds, not having enough supply to meet demand, or frankly, any other number of problems that could arise with such a rollout, the Verano executive we spoke to — who also oversaw their rollout in Chicago a few years back — was confident.READ MORE: Pennsylvania US Senate Race Between Republicans Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick Too Close To Call
“I don’t think we’re concerned at all. Everybody is just elated and excited to be a part of this monumental even that’s about to happen in New Jersey,” Leventis said.
There are plans for crowd control. Added security will be on-hand and Verano has worked with local law enforcement ahead of the big launch.
As for what customers, be they well-versed or curious newbies, can expect?
“We’re gonna have staff that are available to walk you through the selection of items and different product types. You go up and you’re rung up like a normal sale and you walk out the door. It’s much more akin to visiting an Apple store than it is anything else,” Leventis said.
Last May, Sea Isle City’s council enacted a blanket prohibition of the sale, manufacture or distribution of both medical and recreational marijuana.
It’s just one of more than a dozen towns in South Jersey to ban sales of cannabis — Avalon, Stone Harbor and Brigantine are some of the others who’ve taken similar action.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Acting AG Matthew J. Platkin To Make Law Enforcement Announcement
We reached out to a number of different towns’ civic leaders to discuss Gov. Murphy’s announcement and we’re waiting to hear back.