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NJ legal weed: Garden State Dispensary to start recreational marijuana sales this week


The first legal weed sales in central New Jersey are set for Wednesday morning. 

The three Garden State Dispensary locations in Woodbridge, Eatontown and Union Township will begin selling marijuana to adults over 21 years old at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, parent company AYR Wellness announced on Monday. 

The medical marijuana dispensaries were approved to convert to recreational sales by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission on May 24. 

"As we bring expanded access and introduce Ayr’s portfolio of high-quality branded offerings to the currently under-served and densely populated Central New Jersey market, we expect adult-use cannabis sales to climb," AYR Wellness Chairman and CEO Jonathan Sandelman said in a statement. 

The Garden State Dispensary locations bring the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries selling recreational cannabis to 16, with two more on the way. 

The CRC approved the Apothecarium dispensary in Lodi, owned by TerrAscend, and the Ascend dispensary in Montclair for recreational sales last month, as well. 

Ascend Montclair last week announced it would begin sales on the morning of June 7 after it submitted a required form to the township. 

But sales were halted after only a few hours after the township informed officials the dispensary was not in compliance with local cannabis license laws, said Ascend spokeswoman Caitlin Fleishman, who accused the township of “dragging its feet” on approving the application. 

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Ascend first applied to begin legal weed sales in August 2021 after the township council passed an ordinance opting into the cannabis industry. 

“We are excited to provide for customers in the township and surrounding area,” Fleishman said. “But we need local government to be a partner, not an obstacle.”

More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters supported legalizing marijuana for adult use and purchase in a November 2020 referendum. Gov. Phil Murphy signed New Jersey marijuana legalization into law in February 2021. 

More than $24 million in cannabis sales were reported in the first month after legal weed sales began in New Jersey on April 21.

Mike Davis has spent the last decade covering New Jersey local news, marijuana legalization, transportation and a little bit of everything else. He's won a few awards that make his parents very proud. Contact him at mdavis@gannettnj.com or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.