New Jersey weed enthusiasts started lining up before dawn at dispensaries Thursday across the Garden State as adult-use cannabis sales went into effect.
After the long wait on a bumpy road to marijuana legalization, enthusiasm is running high.
With soul music blaring, free doughnuts in the parking lot and a balloon arch at the entrance, New Jersey’s cannabis kickoff for people 21 and older had the feel of a fair more than a store opening.https://t.co/skwikfTo9A
— WJBF (@WJBF) April 21, 2022
As of Thursday, New Jersey’s recreational cannabis sales for adults 21 and older are up and running. The first cannabis shops, referred to as alternative treatment centers, began functioning at 6 a.m. in parts of the state.
“It’s a huge event. It’s a moment in time in American history where prohibition 2.0 is lifted,” said Ben Kovler, chairman and CEO of Green Thumb Industries, which has two facilities opening Thursday, one in Bloomfield and another in Paterson.
Driving While High Seriously Frowned Upon
While possession of up to 1 ounce will be legal, driving while high is definitely not. Some local Jersey police departments have cautioned they’re intending to use specially trained drug recognition experts to spot drivers under the influence.
Speaking Of Police Officers
Gov. Phil Murphy announced last week that New Jersey cops can consume cannabis without penalty while off the job.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin told police chiefs they “may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty,” but they’d best not show up to work stoned.
“There’s no allowing anybody to show up impaired. Fair to say that whether you’re drinking, whether you’ve smoked weed, whatever the reason, anybody who shows up impaired will be dealt with aggressively,” Murphy reiterated in a press conference earlier this week.
First Among Its Neighbors
New Jersey is first among its East Coast neighbors to begin recreational sales. While New York is moving forward with a well-planned, $1-billion market, sales are not expected to start until the end of the year.
Pennsylvania, which has an active medical cannabis market, has passed ordinances to decriminalize marijuana or make it a low law enforcement priority, is not expecting adult-use legalization just yet.