New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) has approved the first 13 dispensaries that will be allowed to sell cannabis for adult use in the state. The recreational sale to adults 21 and older is set to begin next month. The 13 dispensaries are owned by 7 vertically integrated operators, including Curaleaf, TerrAscend and Columbia Care.
Last month, the CRC feared that the legal supply would fail to meet consumer demand when the legal market opened. She was also concerned about the ability of medical producers already operating in the state to open their doors to recreational sales without interrupting access for medical patients.
Today, representatives from 7 multi-state medical cannabis operators testified before the CRC about their plans to protect medical access and social equity across the state. The board’s vote granted certifications to all seven companies, allowing them to expand operations into the adult-use cannabis market at 13 of their 18 locations combined.
When will cannabis sales begin in New Jersey?
CRC President Dianna Houenou clarified that dispensaries are “not allowed to start immediately” and must wait for the Commission to grant them their official license. Each establishment must pass a final site evaluation by the CRC, pay a fee of up to $1 million, and receive its official license before commencing recreational sales.
No specific date has been set for the opening of recreational sales. Each of the 13 dispensaries will open as soon as they meet their license requirements.
Jeff Brown, the CRC’s executive director, said the process could take more or less than 30 days for each dispensary, depending on how quickly they complete their assessments and pay the required fees. Once these conditions are met, the dispensary can open to the public.
“Expansion into the adult use market, with a very advantageous start for new applicants, is a privilege that should not be taken lightly,” said Dianna Houenou. “We expect these operators to deliver on their promises to patients and communities; and that recreational customers are adequately served. »
Further licenses will be issued
In addition to approving extensions for the seven medical producers, the CRC also approved 34 conditional license applications for New Jersey growers and manufacturers who can begin work later this year. This brings the number of conditional licenses approved to date to 102.
Recipients of these conditional licenses now have approximately four months to find a site, obtain local permission to operate and apply for an annual license. Conditional licenses are a way for small businesses to get in the game before annual licenses are granted to larger operators.
As of March 30, 2022, the CRC had received 732 applications: 511 of these were from companies owned by various interests (70%), 213 from social equity companies (29%) and 310 from companies in the impact zone (42%), according to the CRC. Of the 732 applications received, 410 entered the priority review process.
Initiated in 2019 in its latest version, the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey tries to bring to the fore the repair of the damage caused by the war on drugs. Like their neighbors in New York and Massachusetts, New Jersey lawmakers are building social equity into cannabis laws and procedures for receiving licenses from day one.