A growing movement is taking off in New Jersey, with more than 50,000 people signing up to buy and grow their own marijuana in the last two weeks.
The marijuana industry has boomed since a federal law legalized recreational pot in January, with the number of growers doubling in just the last year.
Now, there are more than 1,100 cultivation facilities, more than 70,000 dispensaries and over 300,000 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
“We are seeing a really vibrant economy and we are seeing that people are buying into it,” said Steve Hennigan, a professor at the University of New Jersey’s Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
“There is a tremendous amount of interest and there is a lot of innovation going on.”
While the industry is booming, some New Jersey residents are wary of the potential health risks associated with growing the plant.
The state is one of only two that allows adults to grow and sell marijuana under the age of 21.
The other state is Vermont, where it is legal to sell pot.
In addition, there is no federal law governing the growing and distribution of marijuana in New England, meaning the industry in New Hampshire is largely unregulated.
Still, some say the new state regulations are a good thing, and they say they are the right one.
“I feel like this is the best place for me, and I feel like it is the right place for everybody,” said Scott Johnson, who lives in Hoboken.
“It’s going to be legal and it’s going be safe, so that’s a plus.”
The state’s recreational marijuana market will be capped at 50 grams of dried marijuana, but most dispensaries will be allowed to offer up to an ounce of weed.
Some growers will also be allowed a maximum of two plants per home.
Many say the laws will also make it easier to grow the plants themselves.
“You can grow plants for free if you want,” said Jason Brown, a local grower who works at the Greenbush dispensary in New Brunswick.
“You can go out to your neighbors and say, ‘You want some weed?’
If you’re not a weedhead, you can come to us,” he said.
Hennigan said he hopes the state will set up an incentive program that would reward those who buy the best products, as well as growers who sell high quality products.
He said New Jersey is a place where the growers have a choice.
“They are able to go out and buy marijuana at the dispensary and get it for free or they can go and buy it for less money and get more weed for free, or they have access to a dispensary that can provide better quality products,” Hennahan said.