State regulators are reporting steadily increasing sales of marijuana for legal recreational use in New Jersey.

The Cannabis Regulator Commission (CRC) says sales are rising as they continue to approve more licenses for sale in the Garden State and expect the trend to continue.

CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown says sales increased 10% in the third quarter of 2023 and brought in nearly $177 million dollars in tax revenue to the state.

Brown says as more dispensaries open, more consumers are being attracted to the marketplace. A total of 12 new dispensaries opened in New Jersey during the third quarter, fueling an increase in sales.

Medical marijuana sales are declining

While recreational use is steadily increasing, medical use is declining rapidly.

Even as the CRC moved to reduce the cost of a medical marijuana card and make renewal easier, the number of registered patients dropped from 123,000 a year ago, to about 98,000 currently.

Brown says patients still face many barriers to treatment, including paying out of pocket for doctor visits. Brown vowed to keep addressing those issues moving forward. "NJ-CRC is doing everything in our power to eliminate as many barriers as possible to ensure those who can benefit from cannabis treatment remain in the program," Brown said.

Medical marijuana buds

As a result of the patient decline, medical cannabis sales are down nearly 50% over the span of a year, with revenue dropping below $30 million.

The cost of weed is dropping in New Jersey

One of the biggest criticisms of the recreational marketplace in New Jersey when legal sales began in April of 2022 was the cost.

Brown says now that more dispensaries are open, that cost is coming down.

In January, a gram of product cost an average of nearly $14. That price has now dropped to $12.49 per gram.

attachment-New Jersey marijuana revenue

Consumers also have more product options as regulators have begun allowing the sales of some cannabis edibles.

Where does the money go?

Combined sales of recreational and medical cannabis totals $762.9 million through the first three-quarters of the year.

Since legal sales began, the state has received more than $36 million in tax revenue.

That is a fraction of the state's total $54.5 billion budget.

Revenue is derived from two sources: the state's standard 6.625% sales tax and what is known as a Social Equity Excise Fee (SEEF).

Recreational Use Of Marijuana Becomes Legal In Nevada
Getty Images

Sales tax revenue goes in to the state's general fund to be spent as part of the total state budget.

SEEF money is partly controlled by the CRC, which makes recommendations on distributing those funds to municipalities in New Jersey that are seeing an adverse impact from illegal drug use.

In addition to the state levies, local municipalities can impose their own 2% tax on all cannabis sales within the town. They keep that revenue and decide how to spend it.

UPDATE 2023: All the NJ stores that sell legal weed

The number of recreational cannabis dispensaries continues to grow, since the first NJ adult use marijuana sales in April 2022.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt, Eric Scott

Marijuana legal in NJ: How do the laws work?

Answers to common questions about legalized recreational marijuana in New Jersey and rules about underage use of weed.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM