A woman demonstrates a motorized marijuana bud trimmer at the Speedee Trim booth at the INDO EXPO cannabis trade show on January 27, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The show is a platform for business to business and features producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers in the cannabis industry. (Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)
No date has been set for the long-awaited launch of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis industry, but cannabis officials are already moving for dispensaries to sell a wider array of THC products.
During the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s meeting Thursday, officials unanimously voted to pass a waiver for medical marijuana providers to produce and sell cannabis concentrates.
Concentrates, which come in the form of dabs, wax, shatter, or oil, are highly potent forms of cannabis that can be ingested or smoked. Thursday’s vote does not affect vape pens, which medical dispensaries can sell now.
Currently, licensed marijuana permit holders can produce marijuana products using flower, oil, or topical forms, and they can provide lozenges. CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said he’s heard from both industry leaders and patients alike that more people are asking for products in the form of concentrate.
“For a patient who, you know, might want a fast-acting product, who doesn’t want flower, who doesn’t want a vape cartridge, this could provide a very high dose … with one inhalation,” he said.
The CRC, which oversees the medical and recreational marijuana industries in the state, is creating the rules that govern the industries, and can vote to waive or change them.
Several other states with legal cannabis allow for the sale of concentrates in their dispensaries, including Maryland, Maine, and New York.
Under the waiver approved Thursday, Brown said medical marijuana permit holders would be approved to make cannabis concentrates if they contract with a third-party lab that tests the quality of the oil.
Commissioner Charles Barker, a policy director for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, urged the agency to work on a framework providing similar expanded options for edibles. The current law bans New Jersey dispensaries from selling edibles like brownies, cookies, or gummies.
“I do believe that (consumers) stress how edibles will better serve them and allow them to benefit in many ways,” he said.
Barker added he recognizes the safety concerns some officials have about edibles. The commission has previously debated whether edibles are more enticing for children.
Voters in November 2020 approved a ballot question allowing for recreational marijuana legalization, but the adult-use market has yet to open. Gov. Phil Murphy hinted on WBGO Wednesday a start date for the sale of recreational weed is “within weeks.” Commissioners on Thursday did not discuss a start date.
Thursday’s three-hour meeting concluded with testimony from dozens of residents and state leaders. Some people argued the effects of secondhand smoke from marijuana are still unknown and expressed concern the smell of burning marijuana could waft toward community centers or residential areas.
Kashawn McKinley, director of constituent services for Atlantic City, said marijuana conventions will drive the need for indoor or outdoor consumption lounges. Others pointed out the need for people to consume weed safely and away from children, if public areas won’t be available.
The next CRC meeting is set for March 24.
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