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Legal cannabis licenses in the Garden State are taking longer than expected

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New Jersey may be known as the Garden State, but the adult cannabis market still takes longer than expected to germinate.

Lawmakers originally set a February 22, 2022 deadline for sales of adult use when Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills to legalize marijuana in early 2021. The laws creating a cannabis regulatory authority came after New Jersey residents voted 67% to allow sales to adults in the state. In November 2020.

Finally, legal sales of adult use are still in the planning stages, much to the chagrin of advocates such as Senator Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat, who called the delays “completely unacceptable” in a statement this week.

Scutari, the head of the state Senate, said he plans to set up an oversight committee with members of the state assembly to hold hearings on why adults take cannabis.

Despite the slow launch, the long-term prospects for the legal cannabis industry remain optimistic.

Leonard Tannenbaum, CEO of AFC Gamma Inc.
AFCG,
+ 0.63%
And the
A debt provider to cannabis companies licensed to operate in New Jersey.

Tannenbaum said the timeline remains “long” but regulators want to make sure the cannabis supply is sufficient for use by adults and medical clients.

“You’re going to have a very strong market in New Jersey when it’s open for at least 12 months if not longer than people crossing the border from New York and other states,” he said.

New York is not expected to begin adult sales until 2023.

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Meanwhile, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted on March 24 to introduce a resolution to allow eight medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling adult cannabis. The measure would have allowed dispensaries to start selling recreational marijuana by the end of April.

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission said it plans to visit medical cannabis facilities, also known as Alternative Therapy Centers (ATC) to check if they have sufficient stock.

Applicants for medical/adult cannabis use licenses include some of the largest multi-state cannabis operators in the United States including Acreage Holdings.
ACRHF,
+ 3.64%
And the
Ascent Wellness Holdings Inc.
AAWH,
+ 3.75%
And the
Columbia Care Company
CCHWF,
+ 2.02%
And the
Coralif
Corlef,
And the
green thumb industries
GTBIF,
+ 1.88%
And the
Verano Holdings Corp.
VRNOF,
-3.12%

and TerrAscend Corp.
TRSSF,
+ 5.26%
.

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In a separate proceeding, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved 68 conditional licensing applications, including 18 for manufacturing and 60 for cultivation. Thirty-seven of the applicants are from minorities, including 33 African Americans, nine Latin Americans, and four Asians.

The committee has scheduled another meeting for April 11.

The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF
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It’s down 18% in the year to date, while the Cannabis Foundation ETF
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It has 5%.

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