The time has come! As predicted, New Jersey voters resoundingly approved the Cannabis Legalization Ballot question. With some votes still to be counted, voters appear to have approved the measure by a 2-1 margin; a result predicted by C&W’s Cannabis Chair, Frank Leddy, and Cannabis Group Member, Brian Giardina, in the Firm’s most recent “Ounce of Prevention” Podcast, available here. While this vote paves the way for adult use, we are still several months, or longer, for legal adult use sales.
Senate leadership has promised to have legislation on the floor of the Senate as early as this Thursday. However, many of the same issues that plagued legalization in the legislature are likely to slow down this effort. Moreover, even if legislation is passed quickly, the sale of adult use cannabis relies on available product. In a recent interview, Jeff Brown, the head of the states Medicinal Marijuana Program, said that there is not enough product to begin retail sales while ensuring the access for patients. While many residents may be excited for adult use, this process is likely to continue to take time.
C&W stands ready to counsel our clients on the forthcoming legislation, and the development of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. While the ballot question has left many open questions, it is a promising step. How fast we get to retail sale is less important than getting to them correctly. As this goes on, we will continue to advocate and educate on these issues.