As you may be aware, the 2019 RFA was announced in July 2019, with applications to be submitted by no later than August 22, 2019. Applications for licensure in New Jersey are roughly broken down into two segments: (1) Part A, consisting of mandatory objective information such as evidence of corporate structure and governance, financing, site control, community support, local approval, and other similar disclosures; and (2) Part B, consisting of substantive information as to why the applicant believes that awarding it a permit to operate in New Jersey would be in the best interests of the medical cannabis program. All of the RFAs issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (“DOH”) make clear that the failure to provide mandatory information requested under Part A constitutes a disqualifying event, thereby resulting in a denial of the entity’s application.
Following the close of the 2019 RFA, a total of one hundred ninety-six (196) applications were submitted. Following an initial review of these applicants’ Part A, fifty-one (51) applicants were disqualified, most for failure to submit the materials required by Part A (with others having failed to submit the mandatory application fee, and/or having submitted their application after the deadline). Approximately nine (9) of those entities who were disqualified filed a challenge to the disqualification, alleging that they had in fact submitted the materials required by Part A, and arguing that a technical glitch on the part of the DOH’s server resulted in these materials being omitted.
These nine (9) entities also made a motion to stay the DOH from undertaking any additional review of the remaining applications and from making any award announcements prior to the Appellate Division rendering a final decision. The Appellate Division granted the stay request, thereby barring the DOH from undertaking any further review of the remaining one hundred forty-five (145) applications. At this point in the proceedings, the appeal is fully briefed, and simply awaits the scheduling of oral argument, which is anticipated to occur over the coming weeks. Once oral argument is held, there is no set time-frame under which the Appellate Division must issue a decision.