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New Jersey Set to Accept Cannabis Business License Applications |

New Jersey cannabis regulators have announced that applications will be accepted for business licenses starting next month. The announcement came more than a full year after the legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey. On Tuesday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, (CRC), met to present applications from adult-use marijuana growers, processors, and testing laboratories. 

Also, the agency announced it would accept applications for recreational marijuana dispensaries starting on March 15, 2022. Once regulations are drafted for these business types, the agency will accept applications from wholesalers, cannabis distributors, and delivery service providers.

Businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans will get priority review. The same applies to companies that are owned by persons who have been arrested in connection with marijuana offenses, or those who reside in economically depressed areas, or where there is a high rate of cannabis related arrests. Also, microbusinesses that employ 10 or fewer people will receive priority review.

Regulations haven’t set a deadline and instead will continue to accept applications. The number of cannabis growers licensed through February 2023 is 37. However, there won’t be any limit on the other types. Adult-use cannabis license applications will be accessible online. A webinar will be held by the commission for interested applicants on November 30.

Schedule: New Jersey Regulators

New Jersey’s voters legalized adult use cannabis after passing Question 1 at the November 2020 General Election. This measure received 67 per cent of the votes. CRC was required to start accepting business license applications by September 20, 21 under the law. However, the CRC regulators missed this deadline and announced instead that the process would be established to accept applications later.

It also stipulated that the legal sale of recreational cannabis must begin within six months of its adoption of initial regulations. However, Phil Murphy, the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania stated in September that dispensary sales might be delayed.

“First or second quarter from a medical dispensary and then a little bit behind that from a standalone retail shop,” Murphy said. “I think there’s a very good chance, assuming the medical dispensaries can prove that they’ve got enough supply for their patients, that they’ll be able to participate in the adult use of cannabis before there are actually retail establishments independently set up, but this is coming.”

In 2010, Medical Marijuana was approved

New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010. Two years later, the first licensed cannabis dispensaries were opened. The CRC issued 14 licenses last month for vertically integrated and medical marijuana growers. Original applications for these new business licenses were filed in 2019. However, the legal challenge to the regulations delayed their award.

Dianna Houenou, chair of the CRC, stated at that time that five cultivation permits had been granted to the agency more than was originally intended in 2019. This is due to increased demand from patients for regulated goods.

“The current alternative treatment centers have not kept pace with patient need,” said Houenou. “We constantly hear from patients that prices are too high and that there are too few dispensaries with too few product options. This situation is not changing with legalization. Our priority is to our patients and increasing the planned number of medicinal cannabis operators in the market will greatly benefit them.”

Additional applications to state regulators for medical marijuana dispensaries in the future are still pending. At Tuesday’s meeting, CRC executive director said that all applications have already been scored and the new licenses will be awarded once the results have been compiled.

“We are trying to move these as quickly as we possibly can,” Brown said.

The commission also took public comments to establish guidelines for labeling regulated cannabis products at this week’s meeting. The subject matter experts recommended the adoption of a uniform label design and image by the commission to inform consumers about the presence of THC. The panel recommended against labelling THC products with a lot of words, as people who don’t read English might have trouble understanding the message.

The commission also received public testimony from regulators on edible cannabis. Advocates demanded access to edibles that are available for those who choose not to smoke.

“Any form of edibles should be permitted, as long as the regulatory procedures are followed,” said Ken Wolski, co-founder of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey. “Anything a patient needs should be available to them.”