Marijuana now legal in New Jersey, but logistics need to be worked out

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey businessman Ed Forchion may very well be redefining what it means to do things out in the open.

His marijuana-inspired eatery, NJ Weedman's Joint, sits right across from Trenton City Hall. It's also where - for the last few years - he's illegally sold cannabis.

"We came to Trenton looking for a place. To find one across city hall was poetic justice," Forchion said.

RELATED: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signs laws to set up legal marijuana market

For the last two decades, following his fair share of run-ins with the law on the issue, Forchion has advocated for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.

As Gov. Phil Murphy put pen to paper to finally do just that, Forchion feels conflicted.

"The average guy is not going to be arrested for having a bag of weed in their pocket no more," he pointed out.

Possession of up to six ounces in the Garden State for adults 21 and older is now okay, and penalties for low-level marijuana offenses won't necessarily tarnish records.

WATCH: NJ governor signs laws to set up legal marijuana market
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Legislation to set up a recreational marijuana marketplace, decriminalize cannabis and loosen penalties for underage possession of the drug and alcohol was signed into law Monday.

But, Forchion fears under new rules by the state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission, it may not be a boost for business.

For one, it may be months before licenses to sell recreational cannabis are made available.

"There's an existing black market of people who've been providing to the state of New Jersey for decades and now under this scheme and under this plot, we are going to be excluded," he said.

Curaleaf Regional President of the Northeast Patrik Jonsson believes otherwise.

"We and our fellow operators have planned for this for a while," said Jonsson.

Curaleaf is one of thirteen medical cannabis operators in New Jersey.

Jonsson said Curaleaf has already laid the groundwork for expansion into the adult market, while still meeting the needs of their patients.

"I think there is definitely room for everyone," Jonsson added. "It's going to be interesting to see what the demand will actually look like."

Forchion said it will be plentiful and he has no plans of stopping now.

Early forecasts predict the new industry will be a $126 million a year boost in New Jersey.

"You can have all the Walmarts of weed you want, the people are still going to go the 7-Elevens, the little guys, that's really what I believe," Forchion said.
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