NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — A decade-long fight to bring legal marijuana to New Jersey ended Thursday as the first recreational stores opened early in the morning.

Seven dispensaries are authorized to start selling weed at 13 locations. The shops are scattered across the state, from Maplewood to Paterson to Vineland.

Dispensaries have assured state officials that they’re ready to meet demand without compromising the quality of the supply. New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission expects stores to sell out within the day. At Rise in Bloomfield, folks lined up before the dispensary’s 6 a.m. open. By 7 a.m., the shop was packed with people.

Melissa Correa said she arrived two hours early to be the first on line.

“When you have things like cigarettes that are perfectly legal; [marijuana] is not harmful, it’s been medically proven,” she said.

Customer Chris Pastuisaca, who was also on line before the opening, said it was like “Christmas morning.”

“Didn’t even sleep tonight. I was working later tonight and I just knew I had to be here,” he said. “It’s a really freeing feeling. A lot of people who had to suffer a lot of consequences; a lot of people like medical patients who have been able to get properly medicated and now today finally in New Jersey … it feels really historic.”

The recreational marijuana industry is expected to bring billions into New Jersey’s economy. Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s relieved long-delayed public sales have finally begun. However, there are some rules and restrictions New Jersey residents should be aware of.

  • You must be 21 or older to purchase marijuana.
  • You can buy the equivalent of 1 ounce of marijuana per visit, which includes 1 ounce of dried flower, 5 grams of concentrates and oils, 10 edible packages each containing 100 milligrams or a combination of those.
  • Baked edibles such as cookies and brownies cannot be sold.
  • It’s also still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.

As far as what it will cost, expect a quarter of an ounce of flower to set you back about $110. Cartridges containing concentrates and oils should range from $35 to $60. Edibles will cost in the range of $60 to $80. 

You’ll also need to bring cash with you. Credit cards and mobile payment apps cannot be used. A few dispensaries will accept debit cards or have ATMs present.