When Will Recreational Cannabis Sales Begin in the Tri-State Area?

Recreational cannabis dispensaries are still not open in the tri-state area. Should insurance brokers get prepared despite the delays?

April 1, 2022
When Will Recreational Cannabis Sales Begin in the Tri-State Area?
Written by
Blitz Insurance

Though recreational cannabis has already been legalized in the tri-state area, we still have not seen retail dispensaries open up yet in Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York. Dates of possible openings are vague, but do they seem a lot closer than they once were. Despite not having concrete information, the opening up recreational dispensaries is nevertheless inevitable in these states, and that means it may be time to get yourself prepared.

For insurance brokers, it’s not a bad time to start positioning yourself to be there for potential clients who are eager to open their dispensaries as soon as they can.

When Will Recreational Sales Begin in the Tri-State Area?

Legalization of recreational marijuana in the tri-state area has been in place for around a year in these states. Yet, there is still not a government-sanctioned recreational dispensary in sight, with various reasons for the delays depending on the state. So, how can brokers navigate these new markets when there is so much uncertainty?

In Connecticut:

Recreational possession of marijuana in Connecticut was legalized on July 1st, 2021. And, though the first medicinal marijuana dispensary has been open since August 2014, there’s currently no clear date of when recreational dispensaries will follow suit. The closest update comes from a press release by CT.gov, which states that “Retail sales of cannabis aim to begin in Connecticut by the end of 2022.” In the meantime, applications for adult-use cannabis retailers opened up February 3rd of this year.

Check CT.gov’s Cannabis Information page for the latest updates.

In New Jersey:

As of February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed the bills that would legalize marijuana in the state of New Jersey. Though there are already more than a dozen medicinal dispensaries in the state, it’s unclear when recreational dispensaries will open.

However, shortly after Connecticut on March 15th, 2022,  the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) announced that they began accepting applications for licenses, after the portal was opened three months prior, at the end of 2021. But, according to the Inquirer, most of the applicants submitted were for cultivators; not necessarily for retail. Hopefully, that’s at least a sign that the market is picking up steam.

Visit the NJ-CRC for latest updates. 

In New York:

Recreational marijuana in New York was legalized on March 31st, 2021. But, like its neighboring states, retail locations aren’t expected to open any time soon; even though the New York Times reports that the state is “positioning itself to quickly become one of the largest markets of legal cannabis in the nation.”

According to Business Insider, only existing medical cannabis producers will be able to both cultivate and sell cannabis, while new applicants will have to choose one or the other. Curaleaf, which already owns medicinal dispensaries in New York, is aiming to expand to adult-use in early 2023. However, it is worth noting that those with past marijuana convictions will have first priority on applications, so this may further delay license issuance for larger existing businesses.

Check Cannabis.ny.gov for updates.

The Bottom Line

Even though there is still ambiguity as to when recreational dispensaries will open up in these states, it is likely that it will happen in the next year or two.

Yet, despite the fact government-approved adult-use dispensaries aren’t opening up immediately, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York are already accepting license applications, some of which require an insurance policy to even apply. For insurance brokers, this means it might not be too early to start preparing to cater to clients.

Contact us to learn more.

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