State reports massive first month sales for 7 companies and awards dozens of new licenses
The Garden State’s legal weed market is doing massive numbers one month into adult-use cannabis sales. On April 21, 12 of New Jersey’s 13 approved dispensaries opened their doors to long lines and thrilled customers.
Tuesday (May 24), the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) released sales figures from the first month of NJ’s legal weed market.
Here are Leafly’s Jersey-fresh takeaways from the raw data:
- Total sales were clocked at $24,201,875 from 212,433 orders. For reference, New Mexico’s weed market totaled about $22.1 million in its April debut. New Mexico has almost 7 million less residents than New Jersey, but retail sales were not as strictly regulated as in NJ. Montana counted only $12.8 million in its first month this past January.
- Opening weekend (April 21-23) saw $3.5 million from almost 25,000 transactions.
- Week 1 totaled $5.5 million from almost 46,000 orders; Week 2 (May 1-7) netted another $5 million for the state; Week 3 (May 8-14) saw the first dip in total revenue to $4.75 million; NJ bounced back Week 4 (May 15-21) with almost 52,000 orders and $5.3 million in sales.
- 3 new licenses were granted to storefronts in Eatontown, Union, and Woodbridge, owned by Ayr Wellness. They should open within 70-90 days. Ayr was also approved for a second cultivation facility in Lakewood.
- Ascend Wellness added another retail location (Montclair) to help their existing store in Rochelle Park.
- TerrAscend added a retail location in Lodi to support its already expanded Apothecarium locations in Maplewood and Phillipsburg.
- Curaleaf’s newly-open Edgewater store was approved for expansion in April, but chose to wait until Wednesday (May 25) to welcome adult-use customers. The Edgewater location makes 6 new additions to NJ’s budding market.
- Columbia Care (MSO behind Cannabist dispensaries) was awarded a second cultivation license in Vineland.
- The board awarded new testing, cultivation, manufacturing, and retail licenses, bringing total number of approved licenses to 152, including 4 testing facilities.
- Shoppers report limited selections and prices ranging from $45-$60 per eighth of flower, or 0.5 grams of concentrate. The state’s 6.625% retail sales tax, plus local and excise taxes, means around $2 million should go to taxes.
What’s next for the new ganja state?
The state’s cannabis board is reviewing retail license applications from micro-businesses and social equity applicants who will get the first shot to open recreational- only dispensaries.
The commission only began accepting applications for retail dispensaries in March and is close to greenlighting NJ’s first 11 adult-use only locations. New Jersey’s currently open dispensaries were already operating as medical providers, known as ”Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs).”
The limited rollout strategy means Jersey’s debut numbers are far lower than they could have been.
Ayr joins expanding MSOs
Ayr Wellness shared excitement about being approved to serve adults in central New Jersey, in a release. “We are thrilled to be approved for adult-use sales in New Jersey and to have all three dispensaries cleared simultaneously to open for adult-use,” said Jonathan Sandelman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ayr.
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In April, Ayr was not approved to expand with the state’s other ATCs. “We are disappointed with today’s NJ CRC decision to not grant Ayr approval to begin adult-use sales of cannabis,” the company tweeted April 11. “We were notified that our submitted application was complete & had every expectation that we would be part of the initial cohort approved,” the social media account added.
Regulators delayed day one of sales in March fearing that ATCs were not ready to handle the flood of demand. But a drama-free opening week should inspire more confidence in the industry’s capacity to expand. New Jersey is home to about 128,000 physician-certified medical marijuana patients, according to Bloomberg.
NJ state law allows companies to own a maximum of three retail locations. Ayr’s official statement added: “Central Jersey has the lowest number of dispensaries per capita, leaving its population under-served compared with the rest of the state. New Jersey is expected to become a highly influential state for the U.S. cannabis industry, and we are honored to help shape the market landscape from its early stages.”
What’s next for conditional license winners?
Tuesday’s 46 new licenses make 148 total approved retail operations so far. The 22 cultivators and 13 manufacturers who got the green light hope to open within the next year.
The state also approved the first 11 conditional retailer licenses for recreational-only dispensaries.
Tuesday’s new licenses are “conditional,” meaning awardees will now have a few months to find permanent real estate via lease or purchase and gain local municipal approval. Applicants for conditional licenses must show annual earnings of less than $200,000, or $400,000 if filing jointly.
New Jersey law and its regulators will require 30% of licenses to be given to people of color, women, and disabled veterans. According to data shared last month, 37 of the first 68 recreational licenses granted went to Diversely Owned businesses. And “among those with a majority stake in those businesses, 33 identify as Black, 9 as LatinX, and 4 as Asian.”