New Year Brings New Cannabis Industry to New Jersey

Best Advice for New Jersey Cannabis Entrepreneurs in 2022


There’s no doubt 2022 is going to be an exciting year for cannabis entrepreneurs in New Jersey. The window for cultivation and manufacturing licenses is already open and the state begins accepting retail applications on March 15, 2022.  

My excitement about New Jersey may be a little biased. I grew up in South Orange, went to Columbia High School in Maplewood, college at William Paterson in Wayne, and worked for the first 15 years of my professional career in New Jersey. Oh, and my son was born in Flemington.   Flash forward, I’ve spent the last 6 years with Canna Advisors. I’ve personally worked with clients spanning 30 US states towards securing cannabis business licenses. If you told me years ago, I’d be bringing that level of cannabis industry experience back to my home turf, I may have asked what you’d been smoking!

But here comes 2022. New Jersey just received over 500 adult-use cultivation and manufacturing applications within the first 4 hours of opening the application portal and the race is on to build an entirely new industry to service New Jersey’s 9.4 million residents.

With that said, let’s take a step back and take a look at the opportunity and the process.

Immediate Cannabis Business Opportunities in New Jersey

Cannabis Cultivation & Manufacturing:

There is no doubt teams around the state had been preparing for weeks to submit right as the submission window opened. Having worked with several clients towards that effort, it had the feel of trying to hit the send button for concert tickets just as they became available, or for us travelers, like trying to get a good seat on a SouthWest flight exactly 24 hours before takeoff. Hence the 500 submissions in the first few hours.  If you are interested in getting into cultivation or manufacturing but have not yet submitted, don’t get discouraged. If you did submit, don’t get over confident yet. Here’s why:

Since the state is prioritizing the scoring of conditional applications over annual applications it is likely the vast majority of early submissions are conditional. The state has indicated any submissions that do not receive a full score will be rejected as deficient. All those that do receive conditional approval will then need to submit a conversion application which requires a significant amount of additional information. Any conversion submissions that do not receive a full score will be rejected. Many others who receive conditional approval may never submit a conversion if they can’t find a property, or secure local approval, or raise the funding.

In short, it is probable only a small percent of those that apply will ever make it through the meat grinder to eventually get a business up and running. If you haven’t submitted yet, you are not too late.  Just take your time and do things right. If you have submitted, you’ve taken the first step but there is a long journey ahead.

This process is about doing things correctly, not quickly. Although correctly and quickly may provide a first-to-market bonus.

Cannabis Retail:

The window for retail applications will open on March 15 and you can expect an even larger number of applications will be ready and waiting for the send button. At that time, we’ll be three months into the approval process for cultivation and manufacturing. That will provide valuable insight into the reality of how New Jersey is scoring submissions and issuing approvals.  

A key to success for retail will be obtaining local approval. About 70% of New Jersey municipalities have banned cannabis retail, making local approval a highly sought-after endorsement.  The process for obtaining local approval varies greatly from town to town. Canna Advisors has an extensive background coaching clients through the process of pursuing local approval.  

Whether you are planning to pursue a micro or a regular license, a conditional or an annual license, the municipality enforced limitation on available retail licenses will make it imperative you do things right the first time. A single missed point in the scored application material could be the difference between getting one of those limited retail licenses or not getting one.

A Final Note:

We can tell you from experience it takes years for a new adult-use market to grow and reach potential. It will ultimately take hundreds of cultivators to meet the supply needs of New Jersey.  It will take hundreds of manufacturers to produce a wide array of products and create the competition that leads to innovation. 

As the program matures, towns will begin pulling back on their moratoriums, opening up the door for more retail licenses. Yes, 2022 provides an incredible opportunity. Getting in early offers the opportunity to get to market first and establish market share.

For those that want to get in on the ground floor, we can help you do things now and do things right. And, we’ll be here for the long haul to support future cannabis entrepreneurs as the New Jersey market grows and matures. 

Start a New Jersey Cannabis Business Now

For those that want to get in on the ground floor, we can help you do things now and do things right. And, we’ll be here for the long haul to support future cannabis entrepreneurs as the New Jersey market grows and matures. 

Contact Bob to learn more about applying for cannabis applications in New Jersey.

And, watch the recording from our New Jersey Adult-Use License Application webinar on January 18, 2022.

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