Aug 20 NJ UNVEILS LONG-AWAITED ADULT-USE CANNABIS RULES
On Thursday, August 19, 2021, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) released the much-anticipated regulations for the state’s cannabis recreational market. To meet the mandated deadline for recreational-use regulations, the CRC released only a partial ruleset which they considered the most necessary. These foundational regulations will be complemented by additional rules as the CRC continues to work on the final regulations for the state. Additionally, these initial rules can still be amended over time.
An overview of the new rules set forth by the CRC are as follows:
- Businesses that are minority and/or women-owned and located in economically distressed areas will receive priority review and approval in the license application process.
- A social equity excise fee on cultivation is established to raise money for initiatives such as educational support, economic development, and social support services within impact zones.
- Only adults who are 21 and over are allowed to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis.
- Rules are put in place and will be strictly enforced to restrict advertising so that it is primarily marketed to those of a legal age. Additionally, all products sold in stores are to come with a warning statement about potential health risks, and anything that can be attractive to children (such as cartoons, candy, food, etc.) will be prohibited. All products must be childproof before being opened and when resealed.
- Microbusinesses, those businesses that are owned 100% by NJ residents and have 10 employees or less with premises no larger than 2,500 square feet, will have a simpler application process and smaller fees in order to encourage more NJ entrepreneurs into the space.
- Fees for initial applications were purposely kept low in order to reduce the barriers for entry. Applicants will only need to pay 20% of the application fee at the time of the application and will only be required to pay the remaining fee if approved. An annual standard cannabis business license application submission fee is $2,000 but only $400 will be required at submission. Approved companies will have to pay annual renewal fees as well.
- Except for cultivators who will be initially capped at 37 licenses, there will be no other caps on licenses. All licensing decisions will be based on the market demand.
- Established alternative treatment centers can apply for municipal approval to sell recreational cannabis products. However, approval will be contingent on enough supply to provide for patients. Existing alternative treatment centers will also have much greater fees than other cannabis businesses.
- The CRC must pick a date within 180 days for the first sales to begin to peoples 21 and over.
Greater detail on these rules and more specifics on what will be required in the applications can be found in the 160-page document on the CRC website here.
Sax’s Cannabis Advisors will hold an informative webinar on Thursday, August 26 @ 10am that will cover these long-awaited regulations, in addition to other opportunities and challenges within the emerging marketplace.