April 15 (UPI) — Legal marijuana sales for recreational use will start Thursday after a state commission issued licenses to seven medical dispensaries allowing them to sell for other purposes as well.
The medical facilities, called alternative treatment centers, will open at 13 locations around New Jersey.
“This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” Cannabis Regulatory Commission Executive Director Jeff Brown said in a statement. “We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”
Individuals 21 years and older will be able to purchase cannabis and cannabis products legally without a medical card. State officials said the treatment centers will be required to meet social equity standards, which include providing technical knowledge to new cannabis businesses, particularly social equity applicants.
“A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership and these companies that have been benefitting from the market for the past 12 years — and are now expanding into the lucrative recreational space — have a role in helping to accomplish that,” Wesley McWhite III, the commission’s director of diversity and inclusion, said in a statement.
“Making the standards and the grades public ensures customers, stakeholders, advocates, and the general public have a clear picture of the equity and diversity efforts in the New Jersey market.”
The state said the centers will be assessed on diversity in hiring and management, support for community programs, the number of new and local businesses to which they provide.