March 14, 2019 Andrew Ward
New Jersey’s Impending Recreational Legalization & Solventless
After much back and forth, including a long-since passed 100-day resolution to legalize cannabis, New Jersey appears to be on track to allowing adult use marijuana in the state. With New York poised to do the same in April, New Jersey hopes to be first to the market and reap the benefits of sales from nearby states like New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. While the Governor is optimistic on taxes gains from its sales, others aren’t so sure New Jersey will earn as much as Gov. Murphy forecasted.
So what does this mean for New Jersey’s concentrates market and its producers? Will New Jersey rosin become as synonymous with the state as tomatoes and blueberries? Let’s unpack the situation for ourselves and see what’s going on in the Garden State.
New Jersey Cannabis Legalization Progress
The state did not make progress on legalization as planned. Murphy had initially promised to get legislation signed within the first 100 days of his term. This came and went as Democrats in the state couldn’t even come to a deal. In February of 2019, progress had finally been made with an agreement appearing done.
However, not all was hammered out by then. As State Sen. Nicholas Scutari told NJ Advance Media “There still are more details to be worked out, but the two sticking points (taxes and a commission regulating the industry), we are there. But we are not finalized.”
Now, regulation appears to be the most significant uncleared hurdle. The Governor has yet to support the idea of an independent commission overseeing the industry, a move other top Democrats want to see.
Other hurdles could still arise in the form of automatic expungements for certain offenses, as well as taxes. The concern around sales tax is that it will lead to price drops seen in markets like Colorado and Oregon. In these cases, tax revenue has been affected as a result.
In March, Murphy’s state budget proposal estimate that New Jersey could see $80 million in tax revenue over the next fiscal year thanks to legal cannabis sales. The breakout would see two-thirds coming from recreational sales while the other third comes from its already functioning medical market.
An example of the vast amount of taxes cannabis can generate, as shown here in Colorado. Data source: New Frontier Data
However, with some not believing that a January 2020 start date for sales is feasible, they believe the estimation is way off. Payton Guion of NJ Advance Media pushed back on the Governor’s claims, writing that “First, it assumes that legal weed sales would start by January 2020 and would generate $60 million in tax revenue between January and June. But such a quick rollout of the industry seems unlikely. Murphy’s budget does include the government spending $21 million to get the industry going and $2.6 million to fund expungements.”
With a vote not yet on deck, more could and likely will develop.
New Jersey and Cannabis Concentrates
New Jersey concentrates are already in the mix regardless of legalization. That wasn’t always the case, though. For some time, the state barred its licensed providers from selling vape cartridges to patients. In the fall of 2018, that prohibition was waived.
Curaleaf New Jersey, part of the mega-brand Curaleaf, said it would begin selling cartridges of its own. In short order, a press release was out touting its first-to-market manufacturing of products in the space. In the statement, Curaleaf New Jersey president George Schidlovsky spoke on the importance of its new products.
“These concentrates, which surpass the state’s high standards of quality, provide an alternative method of administration for patients who may not be able to benefit from topical or oral forms of medical cannabis,” said Schidlovsky. “Vaporizing cannabis concentrate is considered a healthier alternative to smoking, and is a fast-acting form of administration. I look forward to seeing the positive effect it has on Curaleaf’s patients in New Jersey.”
Under the current law, New Jersey concentrates are available to licensed patients. For example, at Curaleaf, a patient can buy extracted oil in a variety of ratios. However, home cultivation remains prohibited.
So, where does that leave New Jersey’s solventless and solvent-based home producers? The likely answer is that solventless rosin extraction is likely not to be an issue as long as it is for personal use. Those hoping to make their extractions into a business could qualify for a microbusiness license the state has proposed. Under these terms, a small cannabis business could open up for much less cost than what a large-scale operation would require.
Regardless of the law, don’t get caught doing something illegal. Currently, the state can fine a person $1,000 and imprison them for up to six months if they possess five grams or less of hash and concentrates. Fines jump to $25,000 if the amount exceeds five grams. If a person goes into business for themselves, they could be looking at years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Regardless of the outcome, the black market expects things to be business as usual – as evidenced by the 20-year-old busted with pounds of flower and 1,000 vape refills on him when he got stopped this past winter.
That said, New Jersey may finally turn the corner and get cannabis legalized in the coming months. What that does for New Jersey’s concentrates market remains to be seen. However, home production of solventless rosin is already piquing the interest of producers in New Jersey and beyond.
Be it for personal home use, a micro-business or full-scale production, New Jersey and numerous other states could benefit from rosin production and extraction. PacificGlassCo is happy to serve both home producers and growing businesses with our variety of presses that provide the accurate, equal heat pressure needed to generate golden, potent rosin and other concentrates.
Stay tuned for the latest news in New Jersey, New York, Illinois and many more. We’ll keep you posted.