The business of legalized recreational marijuana received a thumbs up from New Jersey residents that have purchased cannabis products in the year since it has been sold in certified outlets by the state.
According to the poll conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, 69% of users bought products from a licensed cannabis dispensary, with 86% being satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. The main reasons for satisfaction: 43% appreciated knowing the products were safe, and 23% liked the quality.
But price point remains a concern as just 7% approved of the price of legal weed in New Jersey, which has among the most expensive cannabis in the country.
Third of New Jerseyans Smoked
Overall, 32% of New Jersey adults responding to the survey have used marijuana or other cannabis products since recreational weed was legalized in the state a year ago. Of this sector, 47% of cannabis users consumed it for recreational purposes and 39% did so for both recreational and medical purposes. Only 13% used it strictly for medicinal purposes.
Additionally, 30% of residents bought marijuana from unlicensed dealers, 18% said they did so because prices or taxes charged at dispensaries were too high. The main reason cited for buying marijuana on the street was that no legal dispensary operated nearby at 30%.
Pollsters noted levels of support for or opposition to dispensaries operating in respondents’ towns changed little in the year since legalization. Fifty three percent supported dispensaries selling recreational weed where they live, down three percentage points from a year ago. Conversely, 39% opposed local dispensaries in the latest poll, up three percentage points from 2022.
The research group provided a demographic of users in New Jersey. Men (37%) were more likely than women (28%) to have consumed weed and residents 50 years and younger were more likely to have used cannabis in the past year, including 43% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 41% in the 30-49 age bracket. Only 17% of senior citizens said they consumed cannabis, with half buying it strictly for medical use.
Among various races and ethnicities, Blacks and African Americans had the highest usage at 39%, followed by Whites at 33%, and Hispanics/Latinos at 29%. Democrats (38%) were more likely to consume cannabis than Republicans (24%) or independents (32%). No differences in usage were found between different regions of the state and those with or without a college degree.
Views about whether the state’s hospitality industries should embrace cannabis tourism remained statistically unchanged from a year ago, though there was a notable regional difference. Nearly half (48%) are in favor of offering cannabis attractions like consumption lounges or other experiences in popular tourist towns, while 45% were opposed. A higher rate of respondents in South Jersey, where tourism is a top employer, were opposed at 50%.
Sixty five percent supported requiring cannabis lounges to be connected to and run by licensed dispensaries, while 23% opposed that regulation. However, 54% opposed the state ban on cannabis lounges selling food.
Residents were evenly split on whether patrons of such lounges should be able to also use alcohol or tobacco; 45% supported the current ban and 44% opposed it.