Could legal NJ weed soon be sold on other sites?

EDITOR’S NOTE: NJ Cannabis Insider is hosting an in-person business networking event on July 14 at The Asbury in Asbury Park. Tickets are limited.

The only medical marijuana dispensary owner whose application to sell legal weed was denied by a state panel will seek approval again, NJ Advance Media has learned.

If approved, at least two more adult weed stores could soon be added in New Jersey.

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission is expected to take up AYR Wellness’s request at its meeting later this month. AYR saw its seven competitors enter the adult weed market on April 21st.

At least two industry sources have confirmed that AYR will make a presentation to the panel on May 24 to review its patient access plans, parking, separate adult start lines and entry lines. medical and patient assistance and other services.

Rob Vanisko, vice president of communications for AYR, confirmed that the company is expected to appear before the CRC, but did not comment further. The CRC has yet to post an agenda for May 24 on its website, and spokeswoman Toni-Anne Blake declined to comment on whether AYR would make a presentation to the board.

AYR has three stores selling medical marijuana under the Garden State Dispensary banner in Union, Eatontown and North Woodbridge.

Sources say that if approved, the company would initially add at least two of the stores to the mix, bringing New Jersey’s total to 14 locations featuring adult weed in the coming months.

AYR has the potential to double its current workforce from just over 100 unionized employees to around 200 by expanding sales for adult use after acquiring the Garden State Medical Dispensary 13 months ago.

An industry source said AYR’s main issue was proving it could meet the demand for marijuana and was working vigorously to convince the CRC that it would have enough weed to serve the market. both medical marijuana patients and recreational customers.

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association, the largest coalition of medical cannabis companies in the state, wants AYR to grow in adult-use sales.

“Additional cannabis companies mean more products and a greater diversity of offerings will be available on the shelves of our members, many of whom have been serving the recreational market since day one,” James Leventis, executive vice president of Verano, a dispensary that sells legal weed and a member of the NJCTA board of directors in a statement to NJ Cannabis Insider.

“But more than that, it only proves to New Jersey voters that they are right – that a robust personal-use market is capable of thriving in our state,” he added.

Analysts factored AYR into 2022 cannabis business models for the rest of the year to measure the revenue that could be generated by eight dispensaries – officially known as alternative treatment centers – instead of the seven that already sell legal weed.

“Taking incumbents, and even AYR Garden State Dispensary stores (none yet offering recreation), we estimate that 5-10 additional stores will be able to offer recreation (adult) services by end of 2022,” Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic wrote. in a note to investors dated May 1.

Zuanic warned that New Jersey still starts out with far fewer stores than other states.

“Twenty stores would still be too few compared to other states that have legalized recreational cannabis – and small too, compared to the 1,500 stores selling alcoholic beverages in the state, before counting 7,000 bars and restaurants selling for consumption. on the spot,” Zuanic said. .

By comparison, when Arizona started selling adult recreational weed, it started with 125 stores, while Illinois had 100 stores.

So far, the CRC has issued 102 new cultivation and manufacturing licenses, but these are not expected to go live for one to two years.

“We believe that limited supplies and few stores may initially limit market growth,” Zuanic wrote.

AYR, a multi-state operator that grows and sells medical marijuana, acquired the Garden State Medical Dispensary in March 2021.

Garden State has the largest retail footprint of any operator, on heavily trafficked highways throughout the central region of the state, as well as a 30,000 square foot facility that houses the growing and processing facilities. existing production in operation. An additional 75,000 square feet are currently under construction.

Robert DiPisa, co-chairman of Hackensack-based Cole Schotz’s Cannabis Law Group, said AYR’s entry into the market would bring immediate relief to existing alternative treatment centers.

“Any ATCs that can come online would be the first to help the first seven to help supply the patient pool so that the ATCs free up a bit more to supply the adult market,” DiPisa said.

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Suzette Parmley can be attached to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @SuzParmley

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