New Jersey’s recreational weed stores open to long lines, cheering customers

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Opening day is here: On Thursday, April 21, New Jersey marijuana stores start selling to all adults 21 and older, marking the end of prohibition and the start of a new legal era.

Leafly editors Calvin Stovall and Bruce Barcott are in NJ for the big event. They’ll team up with contributing writers sending in reports from stores up and down the state. We’ll update this page hourly with photos, quotes, stories, and highlights from a historic day.

6 a.m.: Melissa Correa makes the first purchase in Bloomfield

First in line at the RISE store in Bloomfield, NJ was Melissa Correa, 42, who came from Plainfield. She waited through the early morning hours to step into the store at 6:00 a.m. this morning.

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Melissa Correa waits for the doors to open at 6 a.m. (Meg Schmidt for Leafly)
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Correa making the first purchase. (Meg Schmidt for Leafly)

First buyer: ‘Imagining this day for 25 years’

Melissa Correa did not expect to be the first adult to buy legal weed in New Jersey, but the lifelong toker was happy to make history this morning (April 21) as RISE dispensary in Bloomfield welcomed NJ’s first recreational buyers.

“It’s a historic day here in New Jersey,” Correa told Leafly just minutes before entering the doors of RISE’s Bloomfield dispensary. “I have been trying to imagine this day for 25 years, at least,”saI’d Correa. “I’m 42 years old, and the first time I took a toke was when I was 13.”

“In my adolescence and younger adult years there were some legal troubles,” Correa explains. “So it’s gonna be a good feeling to walk out of here and know that’s all behind me and it’s all gonna be behind everybody else.”

Just moments away from her state’s first legal marijuana purchase, it still seemed like a dream. “It won’t feel real until I walk out those doors,” she added.

Time to RISE and shine

Correa led an eager crowd of consumers who beat the sun to RISE’s Bloomfield dispensary in the early morning hours of April 21. The early birds got the bud first thing on opening day thanks to Green Thumb Industries (GTI) CEO and Chairman Ben Kovler.

“I’m an early morning guy, (so) we’re open at six,” Kovler told Leafly. “There’s hundreds of people in line, people want the product, so we’re happy to give it to ’em legally and on time.”

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A pre-dawn crowd awaited the 6 a.m. opening at RISE in Bloomfield, NJ. (photo: Meg Schmidt for Leafly)

End of prohibition 2.0

Ben Kovler, the chairman and CEO of Green Thumb Industries, which operates the RISE stores in Bloomfield and Paterson, marked the day: “It’s a huge event,” he told the Associated Press. “It’s a moment in time when prohibition 2.0 is lifted.”

Shoutout to NJ Weedman

New Jersey’s cannabis pioneer marked 4/20 by dropping an NFT yesterday. Learn more about Ed Forchion in this profile Leafly ran in 2016.

Jon Bong Jovi? Not bad, not bad…

Stephen Colbert went off on 4/20 and New Jersey’s opening day on The Late Show last night, offering a number of new Jersey-centric strain names and a not-too-subtle munchies plug for his fabulous Americone Dream ice cream, courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s.

It’s called progress

Long lines: an opening day tradition





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