The vast majority of New Jersey voters approved a referendum last year to legalize marijuana. So why have more than 70 percent of municipalities in the state opted to ban cannabis businesses from operating in their area? The answer isn’t simple NIMBY-ism as some prohibitionists would have it. First of all, voters haven’t had a direct say in the local decisions so far, with local officials making the choice through city councils. But it’s also the case that elected officials in several areas who do support cannabis commercialization chose to enact a ban ahead of an August 22 deadline simply to give themselves more time to develop individualized regulations before greenlighting marijuana companies. That was also the deadline for the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) to issue initial state regulations for the market, which it did slightly ahead of schedule last week. In any case, as the New Jersey Herald, which is part of USA Today Network, reported on Monday, nearly 71 percent of jurisdictions—about 400 municipalities across the state—have said no to immediately allowing cannabis shops. And while it stands to reason that there could be some bottlenecking in consumer access because of that, stakeholders have stressed that they expect it to be temporary.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 08/23/2021 18:06:00