The state of New Jersey cannabis licensing program is broken up into three geographic regions, North, Central, and South. The Southern region is possibly the most exciting for operators due to proximity to the shore and the southeast United States. The lack of existing sales bans makes this region even more advantageous for operators. While a few areas have cannabis bans the majority of the region seems to be open to legal cannabis sales and more importantly manufacturing. This region is the most rural part of the state with farms, forests, beaches, the Philly suburbs, Atlantic City, Cape May, and the Pine Barrens. South Jersey is home to some of the best nature preserves in the state.
South Jersey is also very attractive to out of state customers in the southern states including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Some of this is speculation but it is safe to assume some significant demand will be coming from out of state residents and tourists. South Jersey has a real business opportunity along the shore line, Atlantic and Cape May counties make up the southern regions shore market. The region also has some of the best farm land for large cultivation and manufacturing projects. North and Central Jersey are well known as Pharmaceutical centers and critical labor markets for New York City. South Jersey is home to Philadelphia suburbs and the gaming industry in Atlantic City. South Jersey could leverage Atlantic City’s need for tourism and attractive nightlife into a fantastic consumption lounge business area. Consumption lounges could be a new growth area for Atlantic City and South Jersey. This new cannabis focused nightlife segment of the industry could be the perfect way to refresh Atlantic City.
As this industry develops, I expect the southern region to be a critical manufacturing hub for the garden states wholesale business. In the long term I could South Jersey develop a strong craft cultivation and production hub for the state and eventually the Mid-Atlantic region. The access to land and close proximity to the shoreline could create a strong tourism business for bud and breakfast type locations in addition to cultivation tours and other forms of cannabis tourism. This region is known for Blueberries in addition to the beach destinations of Wildwood and Atlantic City.
Atlantic City is very interesting from a brand perspective for both dispensary brands and product brands. Building regional names by carrying a wide array of available products sold. Getting your brand in the hands of as many customers as possible is critical to building a regional or national brand. Being able to find available products across the state will be critical to building lasting brand value in the market. Dispensaries located close to the shoreline will have extensive negotiating power with competitors on shelf space and distribution agreements.
There are currently only a handful of municipalities with cannabis sales bans in the Southern region and while I do expect more in the future this region looks much more interested in supporting the cannabis industry. The New Jersey economy can either prohibit or encourage the cannabis industry. This is a decision every township will have to make; will you support the economy and the community or the thirty percent of New Jersey who are permanently living in 1986. New Jersey needs to support small business and economic growth; legal cannabis can be used by local governments to increase local employment and focus on the community instead of corporate interests.
What I find so intriguing about the Southern region is the potential for small business meaning microbusinesses and craft cannabis. Don’t forget the home-grown farmers from the Garden State. Some of these existing farmers may decide to switch a small portion of their land towards a more lucrative cash crop like cannabis or hemp. In the long term I expect the lower part of Southern New Jersey to be a great location for cannabis entrepreneurship. Building a small legal indoor cultivation or processing facility in a confined space could become the norm for South Jersey businesses in the industry. This is not possible today due to existing banking regulations but once some banking reform for the industry is passed more small businesses will enter the legal cannabis sector. Consider the proximity to both New York and Philadelphia plus the shore and the low cost of land. These features make it an ideal location for cannabis related tourism. If customers are able to observe the different pieces of the production process it can generate additional revenue which makes the product and the experience more valuable to the state economy.
There are no bans currently in place in Burlington, Camden, Cape May, and Gloucester Counties that we know of, please let us know in the comments if I missed any municipalities. As the legal cannabis program expands in the New Year, I expect more towns to follow and ban recreational cannabis sales. The towns that welcome cannabis businesses and jobs will be rewarded with tax revenue and economic growth in and around the community. South Jersey looks like the most appealing region for licensing, while each town is different it appears that these less populated communities in South Jersey are open and interested in the economic possibilities that come with legal cannabis.
Here is a list of every town in the northern region that we know of with a cannabis ban. Please let us know in the comments if you live in one of these towns and if they have a strong cannabis culture. This information is sourced from NJ 101.5 article from October 13, 2020.
Brigantine – Population 8,765 a small beach community on a barrier island along the shoreline connected to Atlantic City by the Brigantine Bridge next to Harrah’s Casino. Given the close proximity to Atlantic City and the WildLife management areas including North Brigantine State Natural Area, this ban makes a lot of sense.
Pleasantville – Population 20,375 a large town right outside of Atlantic City, directly in front of Atlantic City on the AC Expressway and RT 40. This would be a great town for customers looking to purchase anything before getting to their desired Casino. However, given Atlantic City has explicit desires to be a cannabis sales hub this cannabis ban also makes a lot of sense. It appears to be politically connected to the neighboring town of Atlantic City as well as any potential dislike by town leadership. This town includes a Wawa which is one of the most popular Gas / Convivence stores in the region showing one of the businesses that would benefit from a legal cannabis business.
Somers Point – Population 10,287 a small town off the coast of Great Egg Harbor Bay connected to Ocean City and Longport which is south of Atlantic City. Somers Point has the Garden State Parkway cutting through the town and is very close to Egg Harbor Township and the Tuckahoe-Corbin City Fish and Wildlife Management Area.
Lumberton – Population 12,205 a large town near Mt. Holly and Mt. Laurel this area is a quiet community with proximity to the Cherry Hill area via I 295 and RT 206. This area is heavily wooded and part of the more rural areas of New Jersey.
Bridgeton- Population 24,442 a small town in South Western New Jersey, this town is cut in half by the Cohansey River. This area is close to the Delaware River and The State of Delaware. The much larger town of Vineland is not too far away and home to one of the newly licensed dispensaries.
Mannington – Population 1,730 a large town with a tiny population encompassing a large wildlife refuge and another wildlife management area on the other side of town. This town is right near Salem which is much more commercial. This area is also right near I-295 and RT 40 connecting to the Greater Newport and Wilmington Delaware area.
Upper Pittsgrove – Population 3,361 another large town with a small population, located near Woodstown and Elmer. Upper Pittsgrove is cut through by RT 40 and RT 77, this area is mostly fields and orchards with agricultural land.
Read Part I 'North Jersey Towns Cannabis Industry Bans' at theblacklist.xyz/story
Read Part II 'Central Jersey Towns Cannabis Industry Bans' at theblacklist.xyz/story
Vogt, Erin. “Before NJ Gets to Vote, These Towns Already Said 'NO' to Legal Marijuana.” New Jersey 101.5, New Jersey 101.5 FM, 13 Oct. 2020, nj1015.com/before-nj-gets-to-vote-these-towns-already-said-no-to-legal-marijuana/.
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