Cannabis sales in N.J. are going strong, after a big first month

It’s been more than a month since New Jersey dispensaries were given the green light to start selling legal, recreational marijuana and, after a big first month, cannabis sales are showing no sign of slowing down.

Some first time legal weed buyers are curious, maybe a little anxious, at The Botanist, in Williamstown, but it isn’t stopping them. Demand for legal weed in New Jersey remains high a month after the debut.

"I mean, we were anticipating crowds, but to see it in person was definitely a shock for everybody involved," Tim Weigand, with The Botanist, said.

Weigand says the big challenge in the week after cannabis was green lighted was getting good workers.

"We certainly had enough product. I think our challenge, specifically, was trying to have enough staffing in order to serve the new customers that we would be serving," Weigand explained. "Since then, we’ve really accomplished that."

New Jersey estimates $24 million in cannabis sales in the first month since it began and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. Plenty of traffic and a small line at the Curaleaf dispensary in Edgewater Park, and the same at ZenLeaf in Lawrence.

"It’s called Sunshine OG. It’s a sativa and it’s about 27 percent," customer John said.

John was smoking pot a long time before it was legalized, as were others, he says, so to him, that it moved commercially, to him was obvious.

"I’m not surprised at all, because people have been waiting for it and there’s a lot of people that smoke pot. If you walk in there, you’ll see a lot of older people in there. You know, it isn’t all young kids," John explained.

"The demand could be high because it’s new. The demand could be high because there are people who are buying up more than they would otherwise," former New Jersey legislature John Wisniewski commented.

Wisniewski says time is needed for legislators to clearly see what the new industry is, like when casinos came to Atlantic City.

"I think you’ll see the same thing in the cannabis industry. You may not see the same level of restriction of location, or perhaps the number of dispensaries, so I think that’s something that the track record that’s developed over the next several months, to a year, will enable legislators to look at making reasonable modifications down the road," Wisniewski explained.

Back at The Botanist, Tim says look forward to better online ordering and deliveries, first for medical and then for recreational. And, he adds that edibles, cartridges and lozenges are coming online as well. All of it, he adds, grown and manufactured in-state. That is the law.