Here's Why New Jersey Isn't Starting Recreational Cannabis Sales Until 4/21

It makes sense, actually.

Dmytro Tyshchenko/Shutterstock

Cannabis lovers around the country are celebrating the unofficial-official holiday of 4/20 today. While the substance was recently legalized in New Jersey, many were surprised to discover that recreational sales are set to begin on 4/21, exactly one day after the holiday.

According to reports, the start date was by design. Because the state has licensed just a handful of dispensaries so far (all of which previously served medical patients), there's already concern about having sufficient supplies to meet demand. Launching on a holiday celebrating cannabis would have supercharged the issue.

"Selecting 4/20 for opening day would have presented unmanageable logistical challenges for patients and other buyers, surrounding communities, and for municipalities," said New Jersey's Cannabis Regulatory Commission Spokesperson Toni-Anne Blake to NJ.com. "Regulators and industry representatives agreed that it was not feasible."

At least seven dispensaries in the state will open for recreational cannabis sales on April 21, including in Elizabeth, Rochelle Park, Paterson, and Bloomfield in the NYC area. New Jersey is the first state in the mid-Atlantic region to set up retail cannabis operations. However, Washington, D.C. first legalized cannabis in 2014 and is likely to draw customers from surrounding states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. 

While would-be cannabis customers can't get their 4/20 fix, they can start queuing up tomorrow to purchase up to an ounce per transaction. Check out this guide from The Asbury Park Press for a complete list of dispensaries. 

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.