New Jerseyans over 21 are weeks away to be able to buy cannabis at medical pot shops now that the regulatory commission approved seven cannabis firms to start adult-use sales as soon as they meet operational requirements.
During a special meeting Monday, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) approved 13 medical shops or Alternative Treatment Centers (ATC) owned by different operators to expand their services. There are currently 23 ATCs operating in the state.
The commission didn’t give an exact date for when sales will begin but said in a statement that once the companies meet all the requirements such as paying over US$1 million in fees and passing operational inspections, they will be issued new amended licences to cultivate, manufacture and conduct retail sales across the state.
But the approved shops must be available solely for medical cannabis patients for 14 hours per week which if not met, the shops could be fined US$10,000 per day and have their licence suspended.
Companies must also keep up with the demand for medical and adult-use sales or they could face up to US$10,000 per day in fines.
The seven firms approved include large multistate cannabis operators Acreage Holdings, Inc. (CSE: ACRG.U) (OTC: ACRGF) (FSE: 0ZV), Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) ( OTCQX: CURLF), Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF), Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF), Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH), TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) (OTCQX: TRSSF) and Columbia Care Inc. (NEO: CCHW) (CSE: CCHW) (OTCQX: CCHWF) which was recently acquired by Cresco Labs Inc. (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF) (FSE: 6CQ).
Great news today in New Jersey! Looks like adult-use sales could begin as soon as this month and we look forward to opening our doors to new customers. Curaleaf is ready with product, people and service! $CURA $CURLF
— Boris Jordan (@Boris_Jordan) April 11, 2022
Chair of the CRC Dianna Houenou said in a statement that the approvals were given based on commitments from the companies reassuring no “adverse effects” will happen with the expansion of operations.
“Expansion into the adult-use market – with a substantial advantageous start ahead of new applicants – is a privilege that must not be taken lightly,” she said.
“The NJ-CRC will be holding these businesses accountable for the commitments that led to their approvals. It is now on these expanded ATCs to keep up with demand – both medicinal and recreational.”
On March 24, the first 68 adult-use cannabis businesses were approved for a conditional licence and as of March 30, the CRC has received 732 applications.
In addition to the ATC licence expansions, the CRC also approved 34 conditional licence applications for cultivators and manufacturers for a total of 102 conditional licences approved so far.
“We are getting closer to the opening of the market. We are approving applications for new applicants and have now made way for the ATCs to expand,” CRC executive director Jeff Brown said in a statement.
“We are now tasked with completing inspections of the ATCs and getting them permitted to open for business to the general public.”
Conditional license application approvals now more than 100 & ATC expansions approved. https://t.co/qRe7OTh6ZI
— New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (@NewJerseyCRC) April 11, 2022
New Jersey was the second state on the U.S. East Coast to legalize cannabis and passed regulations in February last year but it wasn’t until December that it began accepting applications.
The licence applications fall under two types: conditional and annual. Related fees depend on if the applicant is a standard business or a microbusiness with 10 or fewer employees.
Conditional licences give applicants 120 days to find a site, secure municipal approval and apply for a conversion to an annual licence. The state offers different types of licences including cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail and delivery. There’s currently no limit on the number of licences available statewide, except for cultivation which is capped at 37 until February 2023.