High demand: NJ's budding marijuana market coming up short for medical marijuana patients

Days after New Jersey opened the market on recreational marijuana, some dispensaries have needed to make adjustments to manage the high demand between customers and medical marijuana patients.

New Jersey joined 18 other states - plus the District of Columbia - last Thursday when it officially allowed recreational cannabis sales. Thirty-seven states have allowed for medical marijuana, including Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In the early days of recreational marijuana in New Jersey, the state is trying to figure out how customers and patients can coexist. This snag comes after medical marijuana patients have noticed long lines and limited supplies.

Some dispensaries have even resulted in setting up a special entrance and reserved parking for medical marijuana patients. But short supply isn't the only thing working against New Jersey budding marijuana market.

Jay Lassiter, a Cherry Hill resident and medical marijuana patient, said he's still purchasing cannabis from a dealer due because it's cheaper. Curaleaf's New Jersey location charges nearly two times more than their store in Maine.

"If you are sick person who uses a lot of cannabis to manage your symptoms you are really having a hard time relying on New Jersey’s program in a sustainable way," Lassiter said. "So people like me and lots of patients have come to rely on the black market simply because we cannot afford medical marijuana in New Jersey."


Lassiter is an advocate of recreational marijuana and believes that New Jersey joining the fray of pot-friendly states in a milestone, but he's concerned that medical marijuana users will go forgotten.

Some have proposed home delivery to help tamp down the in-store demand, while others have advocated for homegrown marijuana.