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DECEMBER 15th STARTS …



the acceptance of applications to run legal marijuana businesses, bringing the state closer to opening dispensaries and selling marijuana to the public.


The Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced it would open the application process to marijuana growers, processors, and testing labs on Dec. 15. It will open applications for dispensaries on March 15. There are no deadlines to file applications. The commission will accept them on a rolling basis. Only cultivation licenses have a cap: 37 new licenses can be issued between Feb. 2021 and Feb. 2023.

Applicants will receive priority review if they are women-, veteran- or minority-owned businesses, or if they come from people who have been arrested for marijuana or live in municipalities with disproportionate rates of marijuana arrests or are economically disadvantaged. Microbusinesses, or those with 10 employees or fewer, will also be prioritized. Brown said applications will be made available on the website, and the commission will hold an informational webinar on Nov. 30 for people who want to apply for licenses. Regulators also heard comments on labeling. Experts said officials should adopt a label that is a traditional shape and type of image to warn a consumer that the product contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that produces a high feeling. But they said it should not include words, which could be difficult for consumers who cannot read or who do not speak English.

The legal cannabis law set a deadline in September for the commission to begin licensing new businesses. But regulators did not meet it and instead announced they had adopted a system to help process the applications when the time came.

The cannabis legalization law mandates legal sales begin by mid-February or six months after the commission adopted its initial rules. But without new businesses, it’s unlikely the state will set a start date for sales by then.

New Jersey currently has only medical marijuana dispensaries and growers. They will get the first shot at selling to the public once they certify they have enough cannabis to meet patient and public demand and pay fees to expand their licenses to the recreational market.

But those dispensaries say they could start selling to the public now, and that they have an excess amount of cannabis stocked up.

Last month, the commission awarded 14 new licenses for the medical marijuana market. They will have to operate as medical-only businesses for one year before applying to grow and sell marijuana to the recreational market, too. New medical dispensaries are still awaiting licenses, too. Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, said all scores for dispensaries have been submitted, but they must still be compiled by the commission before the licenses are awarded.

Applicants will receive priority review if they are women-, veteran- or minority-owned businesses, or if they come from people who have been arrested for marijuana or live in municipalities with disproportionate rates of marijuana arrests or are economically disadvantaged. Microbusinesses, or those with 10 employees or fewer, will also be prioritized.

Brown said applications will be made available on the website, and the commission will hold an informational webinar on Nov. 30 for people who want to apply for licenses.

Regulators also heard comments on labeling. Experts said officials should adopt a label that is a traditional shape and type of image to warn a consumer that the product contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that produces a high feeling. But they said it should not include words, which could be difficult for consumers who cannot read or who do not speak English.



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