At a meeting of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (the “CRC”) held on August 19, 2021, an initial set of regulations were adopted which will govern the recreational cannabis industry in New Jersey. These are not the full set of regulations that will be needed to govern the industry (e.g. the current regulations do not cover licensing requirements for wholesaler, distributor, or delivery licenses). However, the regulations do mark a major milestone in the path to a legal adult recreational cannabis industry in the State of New Jersey.
Among other things, the adoption of these regulations triggers a 180-day countdown to the day when adult recreational sales are to be permitted in New Jersey. That would be February 15, 2022, which now becomes the outside date for such sales. The date for businesses to first be permitted to apply for licenses in the cannabis industry, however, has not yet been determined. When the CRC decides that it is ready to accept license applications, a notice of that initial application date will be published. No applications will be permitted until at least 30 days after the publication date of that notice. The date for that publication is unknown at the present time. As CRC Chairperson Dianna Houenou stated at the August 19, 2021 meeting of the CRC, the commission will hold off on accepting license applications until it has the ability to “process applications effectively and efficiently”.
The new regulations provide that three types of cannabis businesses will be given priority in the review and approval of their license applications—effectively moving these applications to the “top of the pile” in the review process (jumping ahead of other, even earlier submitted, applications):