The legalization of recreational adult use marijuana in New Jersey could mean a boost for tourism in the Garden State.
Cannabis tourism is a topic of discussion among those in the marijuana industry. That topic was brought directly to the New Jersey Conference on Tourism on Wednesday.
“California and Nevada and Colorado – they’re already doing cannabis tourism,” says John Fanburg, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry Practice at Brach Eichler.
Fanburg is a cannabis industry attorney and presented at the conference in Atlantic City on how New Jersey can boost its tourism by including cannabis in the mix. Other states have already seen success in this industry.
“You get on the 420 Bus and you drive out to the grow facility. You see how they do it, you see how they process it and then they have tasting rooms,” Fanburg says.
New Jersey does not allow this under the law. But unlike other states, New Jersey will allow consumption lounges.
“It provides a place and location that’s safe, out of the way, not in the face of people who don’t want to see this, not in the face of children,” Fanburg says. “They will have to be associated with either a medical dispensary or adult recreational dispensary.”
According to the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector directly represented just over $20 million of the state’s Gross Domestic Product. This is a little bit more than 3% of the state’s economy. Experts say the likelihood of cannabis tourism existing and thriving in New Jersey, is extremely likely and could bolster those numbers.
“When we look at New Jersey, we have a regional economy to begin with,” says Edmund DeVeaux, of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association. “We go to New York or Philadelphia for sports, we go to New York or Philadelphia for restaurants and people come through New Jersey for the same thing.”
Cannabis tourism could look like cannabis-friendly hotels, restaurants, cooking classes, festivals and upscale social lounges. For now, in New Jersey, this is still just talk and there are several other license applications cannabis industry hopefuls are waiting on.
“In just two weeks, the state will start accepting applications for grow and manufacture license,” Fanburg says. “March 15 is when they’ll begin to accept applications for dispensaries for retails establishments.”
Experts say cannabis tourism could be a thing of the near future and that it could be as soon as the third or fourth quarters of next year when New Jersey residents will be able to walk into a shop and buy recreational marijuana.