New Jersey cannabis regulators believe there's room to grow when it comes to getting people from economically-disadvantaged areas — especially those previously convicted of marijuana crimes — into the state's brand new legal weed industry.
According to statistics released by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission last week, over 72% of all cannabis licenses have gone to diversely-owned businesses, including more than two-thirds of all "annual" licenses."
The vast majority of licenses issued by the CRC are for "conditional" licenses, temporary licenses which awardees often use to show proof of concept when trying to get municipal approval. Those licenses are required to be converted into annual licenses within 120 days, but the CRC has granted extensions.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy poses shortly after signing marijuana legalization bills into law, making the state the 13th state to legalize marijuana for adult use. The bills come after more than two-thirds of voters supported a ballot measure to legalize cannabis.
But the statistics are almost reversed when it comes to the businesses directly tied to marijuana.
Only about one-quarter of all licenses went to social equity applicants, and just 16% went specifically to applicants with prior marijuana convictions — including less than 14% of all dispensary licenses.