TRENTON - New Jersey collected more than $4.6 million in tax revenue in the first 10 weeks of legal weed sales in the Garden State.
Nearly $79.7 million in total sales of recreational marijuana was recorded between April 21 and June 30, the end of the second fiscal quarter, according to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission and state Treasury Department.
More than $59.2 million in medical marijuana was sold during the same quarter.
“The market is improving. It is performing as we expect with the current number of dispensaries, the spread of locations, and the high prices,” CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said in a statement. “As more cannabis businesses come online, consumers won’t have to travel as far to make purchases, and prices will fall with increased competition. The market will do even better.”
There are 18 medical marijuana dispensaries across New Jersey licensed to sell cannabis to recreational customers, with another location − Ascend in Montclair − approved by the state but waiting for a local license. Since May, the CRC has issued another 140 conditional legal weed dispensary licenses.
"Conditional" licenses are awarded to applicants who may not have a location finalized, but often require the state license to secure a site.
"New Jerseyans are looking forward to supporting new businesses – which will increase sales figures and generate more revenue to be reinvested in our communities,” CRC Chair Dianna Houneou said. “We are working to make that happen. We are issuing awards to start new businesses on their path to operation and look forward to the industry growth we see coming in the near future.”
The tax revenue includes $219,482 in social equity excise fees, which are levied on cannabis cultivators − and passed onto retailers and customers − at the rate of $1.10 per ounce of cannabis, according to the Treasury Department.
According to the New Jersey marijuana legalization laws, at least 70% of all tax revenue − including all social equity excise fee revenue − is earmarked for investment in "impact zones," defined as cities with high crime indexes and unemployment rates for their population.
The legal weed laws dictate that, beginning nine months after the first social equity fee is levied, the CRC can − but isn't required to − amend the fee to anywhere between $10 and $60 per ounce, depending on the average retail price of cannabis.
Under that framework, the retail price falls, but the fee increases to ensure impact zones are still funded by the tax revenue.
Mike Davis has spent the last decade covering New Jersey local news, marijuana legalization, transportation and a little bit of everything else. He's won a few awards that make his parents very proud. Contact him at email@example.com or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: NJ legal weed: How much tax revenue is it bringing in?