TRENTON – Legal sales of recreational marijuana are expanding to an additional six medical dispensaries in New Jersey over the coming weeks, including one opening today after a five-week delay.

The Curaleaf dispensary in Edgewater Park was supposed to open when sales debuted April 21 but needed to make changes, such as build an expanded parking lot, to obtain local approvals. It becomes the 13th medical dispensary in the state to also sell to adults not part of the medical marijuana program.

Another five medical dispensaries received approvals Tuesday from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to expand to recreational sales. They will open in the coming weeks, at a date not yet determined:

  • Ascend Wellness in Montclair. The company’s Rochelle Park site already has adult-use sales.
  • Apothecarium, which is owned by TerrAscend, in Lodi. This is a new dispensary that hasn’t yet opened for medical sales. The company’s sites in Maplewood and Phillipsburg already have adult-use sales.
  • Garden State Dispensary, owned by Ayr Wellness, in Eatontown, Union and Woodbridge.

Where to find NJ's newest legal weed stores

NJ approved six new recreational cannabis dispensaries. Here is where they are located.

Two companies with medical marijuana licenses got approval to grow additional marijuana in a second location. Columbia Care NJ will open a cultivation location in Vineland, while Garden State Dispensary will open one in Lakewood.

First recreational retailers

Eleven retail stores for recreational marijuana, the first separate from the medical program, got conditional approvals from the CRC at Tuesday’s meeting. However, they have more work to do before applying for full operating licenses.

Conditional standard licenses were issued to Kind Kush, based in Cresskill; The Jersey Joint Dispensary, based in Glassboro; Cloud Nine Dispensary, based in West Milford; Simply Pure Trenton, based in Ewing; and Med Leaf, based in North Bergen.

Conditional microbusiness licenses – for places that will be smaller than 2,500 square feet, with no more than 10 employees – were issued to Nutra Leaf, of Parsippany; Daylite Cannabis, of Medford; Tru Wellness, of Parsippany; Simply Pure Downtown Trenton; Galaxy Express NJ, of North Bergen; and Herb Haus.

'Faster and faster'

Jeff Brown, executive director of the CRC, said the goal is to eventually decide on license applications within 90 days but that most of the reviews will take longer at the start, given the state has received applications for more than 1,000 licenses of various types.

But the first batch of adult-use retailers got conditional approvals in 70 days.

“Here we have a slate of retailers that submitted on March 15 and are up for approval well under that 90-day mark. We continue to get faster and faster at this.”

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The CRC also approved conditional licenses for 22 more cultivators, bringing the overall total to 92; 13 manufacturers, bringing the overall total to 45; and four testing labs.

The CRC also voted to lift a requirement that medical dispensaries in the midst of getting licensed right now, through a process that began in 2019 but got delayed, won’t have to operate for a full year before they can expand their scope of operations to include recreational sales.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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