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New Jersey to Open Adult Use Cannabis Applications

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) will be opening applications for adult-use cannabis business licenses on 27 September, 2023.

The licenses will cover wholesale, distribution and delivery of recreational cannabis. Social Equity and Diversely-Owned Businesses will be given priority review and approval over an exclusive 90-day period from September 27, 2023, to December 26, 2023.

Earlier in July, New Jersey regulators made a shock move – significantly amending plans to give ‘social equity’ applicants priority in establishing cannabis businesses.

In June, NJCRC voted to give exclusive access to the licenses for applicants with prior convictions, however, July’s vote saw this time period reduced to three months as the initial policy received criticism, with some claiming it would exclude those who have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition policies but do not fit the definition of a ‘social equity applicant’.

NJCRC Chairwoman, Dianna Houenou, stated: “The launch of these new cannabis business license classes represents a significant step in the continued growth and diversification of New Jersey’s cannabis industry.

“We now have more medicinal and recreational businesses open, so applicants for these additional license classes have a more robust industry to serve.

“We are committed to fostering inclusivity, empowering local communities, and providing opportunities for those typically underrepresented who want to enter the cannabis industry.”

The three-month period for social equity applicants will be followed by a three-month period when applications from Diversely-Owned Businesses will begin to be accepted from 27 December, 2023, to 26 March, 2024.

The application process will open for all other applicants will then be open from 27 March, 2024.

Executive Director of NJCRC, Jeff Brown, added: “Now that New Jersey’s market is on the cusp of 50 operational cannabis retailers, opening up applications for delivery services, wholesalers, and distributors will help New Jersey’s market serve consumers better.

“To assist applicants with meeting the legal requirements for licensure, the webinar on September 14 will review how to complete the process accurately and minimise hold-ups like cure letters.”

NJCRC has stated that, as of August 2023, of the 2,014 applications received by the regulator, almost 1,800 cure letters notifying applicants of application deficiencies have been sent. The webinar is intended to prepare potential applicants for the process and reduce the need for cure letters.

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