Starting a Cannabis Business in New Jersey

by | Jun 21, 2024

Starting a Cannabis Business in New Jersey

If you’re thinking about starting a cannabis business in New Jersey—a dispensary, retail store, lab, or something similar—you’ve got a lot to think about. Beyond the typical challenges of entrepreneurship, the cannabis industry has special considerations and pitfalls to consider. But don’t despair. This guide can get your new business on the right track.

A Brief History of Cannabis Legalization in NJ

To understand today’s cannabis market, it helps to first look at the legal journey that marijuana has taken in New Jersey.

While cannabis was illegal, New Jersey aggressively policed possession and use—with some of the highest arrest rates in the nation. Small inroads began in 2010 when a bill legalized medical use, albeit with ultra-strict controls. These regulations have relaxed slightly, now allowing for more qualifying conditions, higher possession quantities, and so on.

Legislative measures to legalize recreational use started around 2017 but met significant bureaucratic speed bumps. In 2020, New Jersey voted to approve recreational cannabis. After some political back-and-forth regarding underage penalties, cannabis finally got the green light.

As of today, adults 21+ in New Jersey can buy, possess, gift, and use cannabis products in limited quantities. Home cultivation is still illegal. Over 70% of NJ municipalities have barred cannabis establishments within their borders.

The Cannabis Market in New Jersey

How many potential customers will your New Jersey cannabis business have? For that, we need to look at a few important market trends.

Public opinion on cannabis in New Jersey is positive, but it isn’t exactly unanimous. A 2018 poll saw 58% in favor of legalization and 37% opposed. The same poll revealed that half of all respondents had tried marijuana and more would consider doing so after legalization.

Approximately 20% of NJ adults have used cannabis within the past year, slightly lower than the national average. Assuming consumption rates and the population stay steady, that’s about 1.4 million possible consumers—not counting out-of-state visitors.

In 2023, the New Jersey cannabis market generated over $800 million in total sales revenue. That’s from both medical and recreational marijuana. This figure may exceed $1 billion in 2024.

New Jersey isn’t the most fertile market for cannabis products, but it certainly has opportunities. For anyone thinking about starting a cannabis business in New Jersey, the time to strike is now. The industry is young and growing. There will only be stiffer competition in the coming years.

How to Start a Cannabis Business in New Jersey

Starting a cannabis business follows a basic process, no matter where you are. Check out our complete guide, How to Start a Cannabis Business, for details.

  1. Determine your business type, such as a retailer, testing lab, cultivator, manufacturer, or support service.
  2. Develop a plan using resources like the New Jersey Small Business Development Center. It should cover your business model, legal structure, financial needs, and marketing strategy at a minimum.
  3. Consider zoning restrictions when selecting a brick-and-mortar location if needed.
  4. Address official matters through the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, including all-important licensing. With your business at stake, consider hiring an attorney.
  5. Register your business and obtain an EIN.
  6. Get comprehensive insurance coverage for assets, customers, and personnel.
  7. Secure funding and bank accounts. If federally affiliated banks cause issues, try local banks, private investors, or specialty institutions like Safe Harbor Financial or FundCanna.

You’ll face many more decisions about staffing, distribution, suppliers, and more while you operate a cannabis business in New Jersey. But these basics should get you started.

New Jersey Cannabis Security Regulations

To keep your new business safe and comply with state law, you’ll need to make cannabis security solutions a “high” priority. A secure business is a profitable business.

New Jersey law requires certain security measures for cannabis businesses, including:

  • An alarm system with backup in case of power failure
  • Protocols for testing and maintaining security equipment
  • Access control for areas with cannabis products
  • Panic buttons
  • A video surveillance system that continuously monitors all controlled areas and stores this footage for 30 days
  • Adequate lighting for entryways and surveilled areas
  • Providing law enforcement and nearby neighbors with emergency contact information
  • Cannabis product seed-to-sale tracking processes
  • ID cards for all employees

Read these laws carefully and follow them to the letter. You don’t want your venture to get slapped with fines (or worse) for non-compliance. And you really don’t want to deal with a break-in, theft, or other crime due to weak security.

Industry-Leading Cannabis Security from Deep Sentinel

Deep Sentinel protects some of the most well-known dispensaries and cannabis shops across the country with our award-winning cannabis security camera solutions. With bleeding-edge AI, live monitoring, and proactive intervention, nothing keeps businesses safer.

Discover the Deep Sentinel difference by calling 833.983.6006 for your free consultation. You’re well on your way to a successful business in New Jersey’s growing cannabis market!

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Need a Solution that Prevents Crime? Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit or call 833.983.6006.

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