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New Jersey to Begin Awarding Recreational Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

Ed Knight

By Ed Knight

March 16, 2022

New Jersey to Begin Awarding Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

Photo Credit: megaflopp

New Jersey began accepting applications this week for prospective cannabis

operators, as the Garden State gears up for the launch of its recreational adult-use marijuana program.

The application period for would-be cannabis retailers officially got underway on Tuesday morning. New Jersey voters approved a legalization proposal at the ballot in the 2020 election, but regulators there missed a deadline last month for recreational pot sales to begin.

The state’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, said last month that he thought sales were imminent.

“If I had to predict, we are within weeks – I would hope in March – you would see implicit movement on the medical dispensaries, some of them being able to sell recreational,” Murphy said, as quoted by

. “They’ve got to prove they’ve got the supply for their medical customers. I hope shortly thereafter, the standalone recreational marijuana operators.”

For those who don’t already have the luxury of owning a medical dispensary, however, the application process began in earnest this week.

said that it will prioritize applications that “increase opportunities in the cannabis industry for people from designated target communities, for people with cannabis convictions (expunged or not), and for minorities, women, and disabled veterans.”

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Diversity is an Important Factor for New Jersey Licenses

Priority review and approval for recreational cannabis dispensary license applications will go to the following three different types of businesses. “Diversely Owned Businesses – minority-owned, woman-owned, or disabled veteran-owned and certified as such by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury in one or more of the listed categories”; “Social Equity Businesses – owned by people who have lived in an Economically Disadvantaged Area of the state, or who have convictions for cannabis-related offenses (expunged or not)”; “Impact Zone Businesses – located in an Impact Zone, owned by people from an Impact Zone, or employing residents of Impact Zones.”

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission said this week that it is “moving through a critical milestone in the licensing process for new businesses,” having “completed two stages of review for many applicants and identified some as incomplete.” 

“Those applications that have been deemed incomplete will be rejected back to applicants to cure (provide needed information and/or documentation) and resubmit. A rejection is NOT a disqualification and cured, resubmitted applications maintain their place in the review, in accordance with their overall priority,” the commission said in a notice posted on the state website.”

The notice continued, “For example, if a conditional social equity applicant for a microbusiness license receives a rejection, when the applicant resubmits their application, it will not go to the end of the overall queue; instead, it will go the end of the highest priority list. Rejection letters for applications missing proof of social equity status, diversely owned business certification, or impact zone status will be issued first. Letters for incomplete applications (those missing a mandatory requirement) will be issued next.”

One prospective applicant is Cindy Ortiz, a cancer survivor in New Jersey who shared her vision for a dispensary in

.

Following her diagnosis, Ortiz reluctantly joined the state’s medical cannabis program, but found it intimidating and onerous. After adult-use marijuana was legalized, she said she was inspired to start her own business.

“When you believe in something the way I do, the way I believe in this, I just think you have to persevere and keep going,”

.

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Ed Knight

About The Author

Ed Knight

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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