New Jersey legislators abandon their current efforts to legalize recreational cannabis, Arkansas finally sees first medical marijuana sales, MJ-infused edibles expand into new states – plus other important news from around the industry.
No-go in NJ
Garden State lawmakers conceded this week that legalizing adult-use marijuana isn’t going to happen via a legislative move in the near term, setting the stage for a potential voter referendum in 2020.
But the state has a Plan B: Expand a medical marijuana program that has gained plenty of traction since Gov. Phil Murphy took office in early 2018 and increased qualifying conditions.
MJBizDaily takeaway: Expect New Jersey to expand the number of medical marijuana licenses to keep pace with a surging patient base.
In December, regulators awarded six new licenses, doubling the number serving the market. Forecasts estimate the market will need 15 additional growers and 50-90 dispensaries by 2022.
The state also announced new rules this week that will create separate permits for dispensaries, processors and growers, thus eventually opening up additional entrepreneurial opportunities for a market that currently is more vertically integrated.
New market, old problems for Arkansas MMJ sales launch
Medical marijuana sales officially kicked off in Arkansas.
But some of the glitches that plagued the newest MMJ market this week will seem pretty familiar to anyone who has worked in state-regulated cannabis.
Arkansas MMJ retailers saw long lines, opening-hour confusion and computer glitches that put the state’s entire new industry on hold.
It was a frustrating rollout for industry operators who worked for more than two years to implement a system approved by voters in 2016.
Still, with only two dispensaries open, Arkansas sold more than $93,000 in product the first three days.
MJBizDaily takeaway: New marijuana markets offer tantalizing business opportunities, especially the chance to tap into