New Jersey Marijuana License
License Procurement Opportunities In The Garden State
What the Legislation Says:
Once Public Question One to amend the state constitution legalizing marijuana was approved, legislation was fast-tracked three days later, when enabling measures S.21/A.21, “Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” was introduced. The bill would implement a regulatory structure for legal cannabis sales. Adults 21 and older can purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of concentrated cannabis. Retail stores will be allowed statewide, but local jurisdictions can ban them. Delivery services can operate statewide regardless of local bans. Retailers can allow on-site consumption as long as they have local approval. The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which oversees its medical marijuana program, will also regulate adult-use marijuana production and sales.
In a rush to set up adult-use sales by January 1, 2021, the bill has been stalled in the State Assembly and Senate due to social equity provisions that were not deemed adequate enough for social justice advocates. Recently, the bill incorporated a provision that the CRC could levy an excise tax that would go towards communities that have been devastated by the Drug War. The two chambers have also had trouble agreeing on whether there should be a cap on cultivator licenses; the Assembly calls for a cap of 37 whereas the Senate wants to do away with caps altogether.
Getting a New Jersey Adult-Use Marijuana License:
While these issues continue to be deliberated, bill S.21/A.21 lays out the criteria for applicants. The licensing system is a scored, point-based system. The CRC is responsible for issuing six classes of cannabis licenses:
- Class 1 Grower
- Class 2 Processor
- Class 3 Wholesaler
- Class 4 Distributor
- Class 5 Retailer
- Class 6 Delivery
New Jersey regulators will be looking for applications with a strong social equity plan. Licensing priority is awarded to businesses that pledge to hire at least 25% of their workforce from socially and economically disadvantaged communities, referred to as “impact zones”. Impact zones are defined as cities or towns that meet specific criteria including population density, unemployment rate, and crime rate index.
Bonus points will also be awarded to applicants that:
- Are residents of New Jersey for at least five years.
- Have a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization that represents or wants to represent cannabis workers in New Jersey or in another state.
- Attest that they will use best efforts to utilize union labor for construction or retrofit of the property.
- Attest that they have a project labor agreement or will utilize one.
- Have an agreement with an institution of higher education to create an integrated curriculum on marijuana operations.
Many state governments look to other legal states as models of legalization. This leads to a general, standardized outline that attempts to set in place a regulatory framework to uphold the law and protect residents. To ensure that marijuana licenses are awarded to applicants who have the experience and the knowledge to comply with these regulations, licensing agencies will consider the following details:
- The applicant’s qualifications
- Suitability of the proposed registered premises
- Local ordinances and zoning laws
- Approval by local building, health, or fire officials
- Business and financial plan
- Security details and plan
- Workplace safety (OSHA) plan
- Employee training plan
- Quality control and assurance plan
- Packaging and labeling requirements
- Track-and-trace and recordkeeping requirements
- Anti-diversion methods to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors
Depending on what criteria the state legislators settle on, regulators may prioritize applications with the following:
- Workforce development and job creation plan
- Social equity plan
- Community impact plan
- Environmental impact plan
GPS’ principal team has experience in a range of marijuana-related fields that can lend expertise to your enterprise. These backgrounds include business and market strategy; commercial cannabis licensing; project management; compliance consulting; global security; and sales and employee training. Not only can our team help you prepare your application, but while lawmakers deliberate, can advocate and lobby on your part on both a state and municipal level. GPS will continue to follow developing marijuana legislation, keeping you up to date with the most recent regulatory developments.