New Jersey’s marijuana market is following a common trend among U.S. states that have embraced adult use: the slow but steady decline of medical marijuana sales, as patients opt for the ease of recreational purchasing.
In the third quarter, the state sold just $29.2 million worth of medical cannabis, down from a peak of $61.1 million a year ago, the Asbury Park Press reported.
That’s compared to $176.9 million in recreational sales for the same period, which was up from $116.5 million the same period last year.
“We’re seeing the patient rolls come down slightly over time and, additionally, the sales lessening as well,” Cannabis Regulatory Commission Executive Director Jeff Brown said during a Dec. 7 meeting, the Press reported.
Medical marijuana patient registrations are down to about 94,000 from 128,000 in April 2022.
The patient decreases and slackening medical sales are likely both tied to the same root market cause: near-price parity, with eighths of an ounce of the same brand of cannabis often going for $60 at a medical dispensary and just $65 on the recreational side, the Press found. And in recreational dispensaries, customers aren’t required to have state-issued patient registration cards.
In response to the trend, the state has slashed patient registration fees to $10 every two years from $50. But it’s not yet clear whether that will be enough to lure patients back or even to keep those who remain.