A Deep Dive Into the New Jersey Cannabis Market

Emily Kho
March 20, 2023

Monica Werkheiser joins us on the Kaya Cast Podcast for an exhilarating look into the ever-evolving industry, targeting the New Jersey dispensary niche. 

The Healing Power of Cannabis with a Pharmacist-Turned-Dispensary-Owner takes a closer look at New Jersey Cannabis through the eyes of Monica, who, as you’d guess, is a former pharmacy manager who shifted to managing a line of medical cannabis dispensaries and is now gearing up to open her very own New Jersey dispensary, Canna Remedies, in the fall.

We’ll take a deep dive into the New Jersey cannabis market as we review some highlights from the episode.

Let’s get started.

The Shift From Judgment to Curiosity

Curiosity didn't kill the cat. In fact, for the New Jersey cannabis market, it did just the opposite.

When talk of New Jersey dispensary options started popping up throughout the state, following suit to other trailblazers nationwide, most were immediately met with judgment. However, as time has proven, the pendulum has swung from judgment to curiosity and, ultimately, education.

Three people discussing cannabis.

Coming from a pharmaceutical background, Monica is no stranger to the stigma surrounding the cannabis industry. One thing she noticed, though, in transitioning from pharma to managing New Jersey dispensary locations, was that, more than anything, people just had questions. And, often, it can be as easy as providing answers to break down those stigma barriers.

“...it starts to breed this whole community that we didn't realize was there before. But it's great being able to talk about it for once and not have to feel so ashamed about what you're doing.”

The New Jersey Dispensary Microcosm

Monica’s experience in the New Jersey cannabis realm is a microcosm of the overall industry.

According to the 2021: Cannabis in America study conducted by Weedmaps, the cannabis industry is growing faster than anticipated, and the stigmas are becoming a thing of the past. Take a look at some of these astonishing results:

  • 50% of cannabis consumers say their consumption has increased YOY
  • 72% of cannabis consumers say that everyone or nearly everyone they know uses cannabis
  • 58% of non-consumers say they don’t mind members of their social circle consuming cannabis

The Cannabis Re-Entry Point

Monica’s New Jersey dispensary, Canna Remedies, stands out from other health and wellness-centric businesses by focusing on the re-entry point.

What Is the Re-Entry Point?

For the cannabis industry, the re-entry point, or reintroduction, simply refers to the consumers who have tried cannabis in the past, in college, for example, but haven’t touched it since. Their reason for stopping consumption varies. Some examples include a bad experience, the fear of judgment or stigmatization, lack of access, and of course, legal implications.

Cannabis in a variety of forms from a New Jersey dispensary.

Why Focus on Re-Entry?

Identifying your niche in the New Jersey cannabis industry is critical to your survival, but it means something even more for Monica. Canna Remedies’ focus on re-entry helps her build a connection with every one of her consumers.

“We all were scared at some point. We all have to start somewhere... So, what we work on is that reintroduction point for people and making it less threatening.”

The Importance of Education

Going hand in hand with re-entry comes the focus of educating your consumers. It goes without saying that the cannabis products available to consumers in college are likely to be very different from the spread they can find in a New Jersey dispensary today.

“I think that's the key point, is just making people realize that it can be part of the everyday. It doesn't have to be, but it can be. And it doesn't have to be scary.”

The Current Climate for a New Jersey Dispensary

While the current climate for a New Jersey dispensary is hopeful, many moving pieces are still in place. For starters, there are currently over 900 licenses issued across the state. Among them, though, only 27% of the counties have opted into the New Jersey cannabis market.

Considering these figures, the licenses vs. the available real estate creates an imbalance. Unfortunately for owners, this means paying premiums for the ultra-high demand and plummeting supply. 

Ripco Real Estate broker Colby Piper, who specializes in New Jersey dispensary locations, believes:

“...premiums of 10% - 20% are enough, particularly if the landlord must pay more for refinancing to host a cannabis business. But some landlords see opportunities to charge even more… seeking premiums of 30%, 40%, or even 50% more than market value.”

If you are looking to open a New Jersey dispensary of your own but are running into roadblocks finding the necessary real estate, WeCann is here to help. WeCann offers in-house brokerage, compliance, and licensing, powered by CREC’s technology and resources.

Expert Tips for a New Jersey Dispensary Owner

With experience in managing multiple New Jersey dispensary locations, Monica has some expert pointers to share:

  1. Expect the unexpected: Consider Murphy’s law and be prepared for any and everything.
  2. There’s no such thing as too much research: Know everything from the town you’re operating in, the community you’re serving, and your investors — and make sure you’re appeasing them all.
  3. Know your people: Know your customers, your competition, and your growers.
  4. Immerse yourself in the community: Set yourself apart to grow a loyal base.

Final Thoughts on the New Jersey Cannabis Industry

Everyone wants a piece of the New Jersey cannabis market pie, no doubt. But to be successful with your New Jersey dispensary means paying close attention to emerging trends and staying one step ahead of the game.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the latest New Jersey cannabis industry news by checking out the full podcast The Healing Power of Cannabis with a Pharmacist-Turned-Dispensary-Owner, featuring Monica Werkheiser. And, to stay up to date with her dispensary, Canna Remedies, projected to open later this year, you can sign up for email updates.

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March 2023


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