FAQs: New Jersey’s Adult-Use Cannabis Rollout

Lisa
February 24, 2021

Now that Governor Murphy has signed New Jersey’s adult-use bills, what happens next?

Our cannabis experts weigh in on what we know now and what to expect as details unfold in New Jersey’s adult-use program rollout. Check this page frequently for the latest updates.

October 7, 2021 Update:

We are all still waiting for New Jersey application details. The big questions are:

  • What is the schedule?
  • What does the application look like?
  • Will it be a rolling application period?
  • Will it be first-come, first-served?

Here’s what we do know now about the New Jersey adult-use licensing process:

  • It’s complicated
  • The scoring is ambiguous
  • There are multiple paths to winning a license

With previous experience in New Jersey plus 31 other states, our team can help you navigate the process.


Q: How many licenses will be awarded?

As of now, we know that cultivation licenses will be capped at 37 for the initial 24 months. However, this limit does not apply to microbusiness licenses.


Q: What is a microbusiness license?

New Jersey will issue licenses to locally-owned, locally-operated micro cannabis cultivation facilities and micro retail businesses.

Ownership, residency, employee number, and cultivation area limits apply. Read more about microbusiness licenses. 


Q: What is the timing for applications?

This detail is yet to be announced. Now that Governor Murphy has signed the bills, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will write regulations that include timing and other specifics that we all want to know. Stay tuned here for updates.

What we do know now is that rules must be developed within 180 days or within 45 days of all five members of the CRC being appointed if that extends beyond the 180 days.


Q: What happens in the meantime?

Here’s our best guess on a likely timeline based on what we’ve seen in other states. Many factors – internal and external – affect cannabis licensing timelines. Stay tuned here for the latest updates.

Likely Timeline:

March-August 2021:  The Commission may release draft regulations, emergency regulations, and/or hold meetings to discuss what should be in the regulations. Or, they may be totally silent while they work.

July-September 2021:  Regulations released 180 days after the effective date. These will contain details of the application process, along with many other important specifics.

September 2021 — March 2022:  Application windows will be somewhere in here. Note that there will municipal and state, and limited and unlimited numbers, depending on location and class.

December 2021 or later:  Application approvals will begin to come out. Facility build-outs, hiring, and other startup work will commence.

January — March 2022:  The Commission will tell us the date that retail sales may begin, but that date must be within 180 days after the Commission’s adoption of its initial rules and regulations.


Q: Are there provisions for social equity applicants?

Yes, priority is given based on areas that are negatively impacted by unemployment, poverty, or past marijuana enforcement activity. To the extent possible, the CRC would grant at least 25% of the total licenses to qualifying applicants or to those who employ at least 25% of their employees from designated areas.


Q: Are there provisions for veterans, women, or minorities?

Yes, 30% of licenses must be allocated to businesses owned by minorities, women, or disabled veterans.


Remember to check back frequently for updates.

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