Legal recreational cannabis sales have now officially launched on a bigger scale in the Garden State. The legalization of New Jersey marijuana sales makes the state the 19th in the country to allow adult-use marijuana. That means about two-thirds of the states have made adult-use and/or medical marijuana legal.
It also means that about 160 million people in the United States now live where you can buy, possess and use cannabis for recreational purposes. That’s an incredible number when considering that a decade ago, no one anywhere in the U.S. had that legal right. Sales did not start until 2014 in Colorado and Washington.
There are now 16 medical marijuana dispensaries that have converted to selling recreational marijuana. Sales started late April, with the first locations in central New Jersey opening in June.
New Jersey Approved Cannabis in 2020
More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters supported the legalization of recreational marijuana in November 2020. Gov. Phil Murphy signed marijuana legalization into law in February 2021. However, the state missed a series of self-imposed deadlines to start New Jersey marijuana sales, eventually getting the system up and running on April 21, 2022.
New Jersey marijuana proved popular from the outset. The state reported $24 million in cannabis sales in the first month, according to the Asbury Park Press. The state deliberately waited until after 4/20, the unofficial but widely celebrated global cannabis holiday, because of concerns about meeting sales demand.
New Jersey expects to add to the number of dispensaries selling legal marijuana in the summer and fall of 2022. The state picked a good time for sales to begin. Across the country, states have reported record monthly sales figures in 2022. Also, sales on 4/20 reached 154.4 million, a record for single-day sales in the U.S.
About 160 Million People Now Live Where Recreational Weed Is Legal
The 19 states that have legalized recreational marijuana are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
In addition, recreational cannabis is legal in Washington, DC, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. About 160 million people live in these states, meaning that about half the U.S. population lives where you can buy and use adult-use marijuana. That’s a big jump from just two years ago. In terms of states, two-thirds of them have made either recreational or medical marijuana legal.
The two biggest states that have not yet legalized adult-use marijuana are Texas and Florida, the second and third largest states in the union. Cannabis proponents in both states have launched initiatives to get recreational sales on the ballot. And in Florida, medical marijuana sales have soared in recent years, even if the current governor is not a fan.