More than two-thirds of Garden State cannabis users have made a purchase at a dispensary in the year since New Jersey launched a market for recreational weed, according to a Stockton University Poll released on Tuesday.

But the same poll shows that plenty of New Jerseyans continue to buy marijuana on the street, and only about half of residents would support a recreational weed dispensary in their town.

In the poll conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton, 69% of users indicated that they had purchased products from a licensed cannabis dispensary in New Jersey in the past year. The Garden State's recreational market launched on April 21, 2022.

Of the individuals who consumed these products, 47% did so for recreational purposes, while 13% used it for strictly medicinal purposes. Thirty-nine percent said they used cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

Licensed cannabis dispensaries earned high marks from consumers in the poll. Overall, 86% of respondents reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. They mainly liked knowing that the products are safe.

Still buying drugs from dealers

Canva illustration
Canva illustration

Thirty percent of New Jersey adult users told Stockton that over the past year, they had purchased marijuana or cannabis products from "unlicensed individual sellers."

At the same time, 18% of individuals who had not made a dispensary purchase said that high prices, including taxes, are too blame. Thirty percent said they didn't make an in-store purchase because there's no dispensary nearby.

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"People have complained about the slow rollout and the difficult approval process in New Jersey," said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center. "Here's the impact of that. The market is out there, but there's no where for them to go."

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents said they support dispensaries selling recreational weed where they live. That figure was at 56% when Stockton asked the same question in April 2022. Thirty-nine percent said they're opposed to local dispensaries, up from 36% a year ago.

Leading up to the launch of New Jersey's adult-use market, individual municipalities had the chance to block marijuana businesses from operating within their boundaries. Towns that failed to opt out would not be able to do so for another five years.

Should NJ promote cannabis usage?


New Jerseyans appear split on the idea of promoting the consumption of cannabis beyond the privacy of one's home.

In the poll, about half of respondents said they'd support the idea of New Jersey's tourism industry offering "cannabis attractions," such as cannabis lounges and cannabis-infused restaurant menus, in popular tourist towns.

Forty-five percent of adults said they wouldn't want a cannabis lounge in their own town, and two-thirds agree with the current rule that a dispensary must be connected to a licensed cannabis retailer.

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