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New Jersey Regulator Grilled at Hearing Over Sluggish Adult-Use Weed Launch

The top cannabis regulator in New Jersey faced tough questioning on Thursday during a marathon hearing that looked into the oft-delayed rollout of the state’s adult-use weed program.

During a hearing which reportedly lasted 5 hours, Jeff Brown (executive director, New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission) testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This hearing was less than one month after recreational marijuana sales were launched in the Garden State. The launch had been marred by delays after another.

Nicholas Scutari (president of New Jersey’s state Senate) called for hearings in March after the launch was a disaster.

“I’m confident that if we did not start this process, the adult weed market would still not be open in New Jersey,” Scutari, a Democrat who pushed for cannabis legalization for years, said at the hearing on Thursday, as quoted by

The hearing also featured “industry leaders and marijuana advocates [who] discussed the pace of setting up the Garden State’s recreational market, scrutinized pricing issues, and griped over still-unwritten regulations for employers seeking clarity on when they can and can’t discipline employees who use cannabis,” according to the New Jersey Monitor. reported that Wesley McWhite, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s director of diversity and inclusion, also testified with Brown.

New Jersey’s legal adult-use marijuana sales opened last month. It attracted more than 12,000 customers, who sold almost $1.9million in the first day.

However, the grand opening took place after the state had delayed its launch.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that in February, he would be launching adult-use sales. Phil Murphy said the state was hopefully “within weeks” of its first adult-use sales.

After refusing to issue licenses for several dispensaries, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission delayed the planned launch.

“We may not be 100% there today, but I assure you we will get there,” Brown said following that delay. “We have a few things to address and when we address them I’m happy to return to this body with a further update.”

Scutari was unable to stop the bleeding, stating that at the time he would hold hearings legislative to examine the delay.

“These delays are totally unacceptable,” Scutari said in a statement at the time. “We need to get the legal marijuana market up and running in New Jersey. This has become a failure to follow through on the public mandate and to meet the expectations for new businesses and consumers.”

In calling for the hearings, Scutari said he wanted “explanations on the repeated hold-ups in expanding medical dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana and in the opening of retail facilities for adult-use cannabis,” and to learn “what can be done to meet the demands and reduce the costs of medical marijuana.”

On Thursday, Brown, according to, “said the CRC delayed issuing licenses in March over fears there would not be enough supply of marijuana for both the medical and recreational markets.”

The New Jersey Monitor reported that the “lack of edibles in the Garden State was also a topic Thursday,” noting that “people can find flower, oils that can be vaped or ingested, and limited gummies” in dispensaries.

According to the publication, “edibles like cookies and brownies aren’t allowed under the current law, Brown noted, and any change to that would need to be approved by the Legislature.”

“There are ingestible avenues to purchase and consume, and we hope to expand those in the future. I don’t have a specific timeline,” Brown said, as quoted by the Monitor.

Please see the Monitor, Scutari replied: “I’ll call you on that.”