The huge, unexpected new challenge facing NJ’s weed industry
Making adult-use marijuana legal in New Jersey made Gov. Murphy seem like a hero when he used it as a campaign pillar during his first run for governor. I don’t think even he realized how complicated it would be and how long people would have to wait for it actually to come to fruition.
But government mishandling and bureaucratic red tape are what New Jersey is famous for, after all. So it should not be a surprise to anyone that we’re hitting another bump in the road.
As if there have not been enough obstacles in the way of getting the weed industry going in New Jersey, here’s one you may not have even known about: Space.
It’s that simple. We are in a crisis when it comes to space for the manufacturing and cultivation plants that the industry needs. According to an article by Real Estate New Jersey, there are several crucial factors causing the space deficit.
First of all, space is already limited to less than a third of New Jersey municipalities since last year, when the required towns to declare whether they wanted to participate in the industry or not and only about opted in.
Also, finding space is further complicated because of the technical aspects necessary for growing in cultivation. For example, you need heavy-duty power, ventilation, and very specific plumbing requirements.
The article goes on to explain that because marijuana is still illegal from a federal standpoint, many landlords are reticent to lease their properties to the industry because of the murky legal aspect.
On the other hand, trying to purchase facilities can be difficult as well, because lenders are also caught up in the morass of federal law versus state law and may not want to be put at risk for the ramifications of that.
Being so close to New York City and Philadelphia, the article states, represents a challenge for New Jersey that the other states where adult use is legal do not have. We have a huge demand from those cities because of our proximity to them and we are a small state to begin with.
Where are we going to put all of these facilities that the demand would require?
Simply put, it’s going to be a nightmare to try to grow the industry if there is not enough brick-and-mortar space to do it. And in an already stretched-thin real estate market, it’ll be interesting to see how cultivators and growers will meet this challenge.
For this industry to grow here in New Jersey and to be able to satisfy the demand, we may soon see a weed processing plant in every industrial Park in every municipality in New Jersey that has not already opted out.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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