This winter New Jersey has nearly 100 dispensaries selling legal cannabis. Yet prices remain expensive and product selection is limited for NJ cannabis consumers.
Also, while marijuana possession arrests stopped three years ago, the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) is encouraging people to report underground legacy operators.
Anyone looking for some gorgeous green flowers to serve up on Superbowl Sunday probably had to work some overtime to score anything “legal.”
Looking at more than 70 NJ adult-use cannabis menus last weekend was like strolling through grocery stores after a snowstorm rush. They’re not completely empty. The same plastic cans of pork and beans-level weed from the corporate cartel* remain on the shelves everywhere.
Good news: The most affordable legal weed in NJ this week is from a woman-owned small-business source. Brute’s Roots still has a $156 ounce of sun-grown, in-house ground/shake flower with tax included. The drawback is the deal is only found at their single store in Egg Harbor Township in Atlantic County.
Prices for NJ Cannabis Consumers Notes
There is plenty of Multi-State Operator (MSO) Ayr and Ascend shake or old cannabis flower trimmings for about $240 to $280 an ounce at many New Jersey cannabis dispensaries. Similar products are $120 an oz in the Pennsylvania medical cannabis market and other states.
Many cannabis dispensaries had nothing for sale under $300 an ounce. So, the price is mostly out of reach for the majority of NJ cannabis consumers.
This survey does not include every single dispensary or every location in a brand network.
I tried to include any “special” major discounts.
Here’s the full list of the lowest prices of NJ adult-use cannabis flower from Saturday, February 10, 2024:
Problems With NJ Cannabis Dispensaries
Imagine going into a small Italian bistro run by an honest local couple. But they can only offer a menu with 4 flavors of reheated Domino’s pizzas still in the corporate boxes for $60 to $75 each. That’s what it feels like trying for an old stoner trying to buy some legal weed in NJ right now.
There will likely be much better choices on the horizon as NJCRC issued a lot more cultivation permits, but the new products haven’t reached consumers yet.
3 Year Anniversary Since Marijuana Possession Arrests Stopped Soon
It’s been almost 3 years since the final adult-use cannabis legalization regulation bills were signed by Governor Phil Murphy (D).
Certainly, the complex world of profits and taxes has been filled with problems. But thankfully, because there was a strong focus on justice, NJ didn’t do everything wrong.
One thing that New Jersey absolutely did right was completely stop cannabis possession arrests for all ages on 2/22/2021.
Police across NJ were arresting about 100 people every single day for just possessing some weed, often just a few grams.
Those arrests happened for years while the legislature fumbled several legalization and decriminalization measures. That intense level of prohibition enforcement even went on after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal suspended the prosecutions.
NJCRC Encourages Action Against Underground Legacy Operators
Today, some Jersey cops are fighting for their right to party off-duty and smoke weed. Times sure have changed. But prohibition isn’t completely over yet.
A recent social media post from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) was tone-deaf and highlighted ongoing justice issues.
It was truly disappointing to see NJCRC encouraging people to call the local cops about unlicensed cannabis sellers. That’s exactly the attitude and action that could decrease public support for every permit.
Just after forming, the NJCRC held listening sessions to hear how cannabis tax money should be spent. Citizens overwhelmingly directed the money away from police budgets. The NJCRC should not even appear to act like a security force.
Don’t call the cops about cannabis. That was the method of prohibition.
I think NCRC should be fielding those calls themselves, with a special hotline. Moreover, the NJCRC, the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), and the NJ Cannabis Trade Association (NJCTA) should have a team ready to help unregulated operators get permits.
No one should be arrested for cannabis. Full stop.
By Chris Goldstein
Chris Goldstein is a writer based in New Jersey. For the last 25 years he’s been a cannabis consumer activist. Today, he’s a regional organizer in NJ, PA, and DE for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
From 2005 to 2008, Chris hosted NORML’s weekly and daily audio podcasts that were top-ranked on iTunes. From 2012 to 2019 he wrote a dedicated weekly column on cannabis for the Philadelphia Inquirer called “Philly420″ and he also created the “Marijuana in the News” class at Temple University’s journalism department.
Goldstein formerly served on the Board of Directors at Philly NORML, NORML NJ, Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana (PA4MMJ) and the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ).
Chris has worked on legislative and ballot efforts at the municipal, state and federal levels. He helped write Philadelphia’s landmark 2014 ordinance decriminalizing cannabis, and in 2024 he received one of President Biden’s pardons for marijuana possession.