One day after marijuana’s unofficial holiday, the state of New Jersey legalized the purchase of recreational pot for anyone over the age of 21.
Over a year and a half after voters voted to legalize it, pre-rolls, edibles, vapes, tonics, trays, hash pipes and more were finally available for customers to buy at any of the 12 dispensaries around the state of New Jersey that had license approvals.
Ascend Cannabis Dispensary in Rochelle Park, New Jersey saw no shortage of customers Thursday morning and into the afternoon. Anyone who purchased marijuana at the dispensary could grab a free donut on their way out.
Louis Cohen, a manager at Ascend New Jersey, said he was excited to finally be able to sell recreationally.
“We’ve been a part of the medical program for quite some time and really seeing the benefits it brings to them, it’s awesome,” Cohen said. “Knowing that the voters passed it at 70%, it’s great to see it come to life.”
Gov. Phil Murphy imposed a 6.625% sales tax on marijuana. Around 70% of the profit is being put towards New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, as well as towns and areas that have been negatively affected by marijuana related arrests.
Tinctures extracts were also sold, ranging from 500 mg. to 1,800 mg. Cheryl Sigretto, an employee at Ascend, explained how they are used.
“People use these sublingually because there’s so many blood vessels underneath the tongue,” Sigretto said. “It gets absorbed the quickest for the quickest relief.”
Zeek Jones, who works at the Public Storage right next to Ascend on Route 17, said he booked an appointment to purchase marijuana right after his shift ends.
“It’s a chill and relaxed situation,” Jones said. “If you don’t smoke that’s your preference. Smoking weed is good by the way, I love it.”
Although New Jersey has offered forgiveness for some marijuana offenses, it has not been offered for all.
Cole D’Antelo, who bought from the dispensary RISE Medical and Recreational Marijuana Dispensary in Paterson, New Jersey, said the state should go beyond legalizing pot for recreational use.
“It would be great if it came with expunged records,” D’Antelo said. “That would be an improvement, but better late than never.”
According to Murphy, recreational weed sales are expected to generate $30 million in tax revenue during the 2022 fiscal year, and over $121 million by 2023.
While legal throughout the state, marijuana is still prohibited on campus at Montclair State University, with no signs of change for the foreseeable future.
Kylee Stelzenmueller, a junior English major, doesn’t see any harm in New Jersey legalizing marijuana.
“I don’t smoke myself but if people want to, they should,” Stelzenmueller said. “I’m more worried about places that aren’t regulated so if someone wants to buy somewhere safe, I’m glad they have the option to.”