New Jerseyans will soon be able to buy cannabis products for adult use once the state’s cannabis commission finishes processing the first retail applications submitted in the coming days.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission said last week it’s moving through a critical milestone in the licensing process, and starting to accept online applications for cannabis stores as of Tuesday, March 15 at 9 a.m.
The commission says social equity, diversely owned or impact-zone businesses will be prioritized.
“Priority will be given to conditional licence applications over annual licence applications, and microbusiness applications will be prioritized over standard cannabis business applications in every category,” reads the notice of application acceptance for licensees.
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 less employees.
Conditional licences give applicants 120 days to find a site, secure municipal approval and apply for a conversion to an annual licence.
The Garden State legalized cannabis in February last year but it wasn’t until December that it began accepting applications for personal cannabis use, cultivation, manufacturing and testing.
The state has different licences for cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail and delivery, as well as the conditional licences. There’s currently no limit on the number of licences available statewide, except for cultivation which is capped at 37 until February 2023.
Back in August, the regulatory commission adopted an initial set of rules that started a 30-day deadline — as per the state’s adult-use law — for it to launch the application process, but it wasn’t met.
A number of cannabis operators say they’re well-positioned once adult-sales start in the state.
New York-based Acreage Holdings, Inc. (CSE: ACRG.A.U, ACRG.B.U), (OTCQX: ACRHF, ACRDF) owns medical shops under its The Botanist banner. The company was one of the first to open medical shops in the state, with its third store opening last year in Williamstown.
Acreage says it’s increased cultivation capacity at its Egg Harbor facility in New Jersey ahead of the launch of adult-use sales.
Read more: Acreage boosts annual sales 65% to US$188.9M
TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) (OTCQX: TRSSF) says it’s also ready for the new market. The company operates a growing facility in Boonton, as well as two shops in Maplewood and Philipsburg. It’s recently launched a new medical dispensary in Lodi.
Multi-state operator Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF) runs several stores in the state, and say’s its set to benefit from the market launch.
According to the state’s official website, there are currently 23 medical cannabis shops or “alternative treatment centres” in New Jersey including The Botanist and Apothecarium by TerrAscend; Ascend by Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U); Columbia Care New Jersey and The Cannabist by Columbia Care Inc. (OTCMKTS: CCHWF); Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF); Garden State Dispensary by AYR Wellness (CSE: AYR.A) (OTCQX: AYRWF); RISE by Green Thumb Industries Inc. (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF); and Zen Leaf by Verano Holdings (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF).
In December, the state said it will allow 30 more medical cannabis shops to open after it assessed patients’ needs to access cannabis.