Since Governor Murphy’s first promised the legalization of recreational weed on the campaign trail, industry insiders have kept a close watch on the state. Its geography, density, affluence, and history together make the state ripe for a new generation of cannabis consumers. And although legalization is moving forward slower than the Governor originally promised, it’s moving forward in a way that could create a new type of cannabis industry.
Rolling Stone recently sat down with Peter Barsoom, CEO of 1906 Edibles, a Colorado-based company that specializes in mood-targeting cannabis treats for both the medical and recreational markets. Barsoom is a New Jersey native and is extremely bullish on his home state.
“Personally, I think New Jersey is one of the most exciting states,” Barsoom says. “Of all the places that I’d want to operate in, New Jersey would be my number one.”
“New Jersey has a unique set of circumstances that I think allow it to potentially become one of the leaders in the cannabis industry, not just in the U.S., but globally.”
To start, because of strict prohibition enforcement over the last few decades, New Jersey has some social justice issues to right that a well structured and regulated cannabis market could help fund.
He also sees the legislative process as an opportunity, saying:
“If you have the right level of executive leadership, then you can put in the right industry, the right regulation and New Jersey will be the first state in the country to legalize and put in a regulated system through legislation.”
More interestingly, New Jersey is a heavily healthcare-oriented state. With world-class medical schools, biotech companies, and research universities, the state would be the perfect place to further research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Because cannabis is still federally illegal, quality scientific research has lagged behind.
“If we can unshackle that, the people of New Jersey make it the research center of the U.S. — same way Silicon Valley is known for tech.”
Lastly, Barsoom points out the demographics and affluence of New Jersey. It’s comprised of what he sees as the perfect clients, “high-functioning adults as opposed to young stoners, [which] makes it exciting from a market opportunity.”
As opposed to other states like California that had a strong underground marijuana market prior to legalization, the industry has struggled to move beyond its “stoner culture.” In New Jersey, Barsoom sees an industry where cannabis is “really gonna be medicine, or is gonna add to their wellness, as opposed to just a vehicle for getting stoned.”
His company has secured property in Jersey City near Liberty State Park where they are “planning to build a world-class cultivation and manufacturing facility that would be a destination.”
“Most other cannabis facilities are behind big fences and dark buildings with a lot of secrecy. This would be a state of the art facility that would welcome people to come in to become educated about cannabis. It’s glass, there’s transparency, and we think it will be a destination site, whether people from New York or people from around the world. ”
If all goes as planned, Barsoom hopes 1906 Edibles and their beverages, chocolates, tablets and other products will bring a public benefit to the state, saying “I think will give people the ability to get off opioids, reduce their alcohol consumption, and have a better night of sleep.”
Read the full interview on Rolling Stone.