Two of New Jersey’s biggest and most established cannabis operators are facing fines of $100,000 and $50,000 after the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) board members voted to issue steeper than recommended penalties for their violations.
The CRC commissioners voted, 3-1, during their Sept. 8 board meeting to impose the $100,000 civil penalty on Toronto-based TerrAscend for five infractions related to medical cannabis patient access. Specifically, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said he received complaints that patients were being told they needed to make purchases off the adult-use menu, which are more expensive and are taxed higher than medicinal products.
Brown said the CRC staff recommended to the board not to go above a maximum penalty of $5,000 per violation, or $25,000 total.
“[TerrAscend] did submit a corrective action plan,” Brown said. “There was a complaint received after that, which would be potentially dealt with at a later date, but largely did correct their actions, created new [standard operating procedures], retrained their staff. They submitted documentation to the CRC that that occurred. Additionally, this is all relatively new still, not only for businesses, but for consumers. And so, we certainly don’t recommend going above the maximum penalty there and would ask the board to consider other factors in the entity’s compliance at this time.”
Disregarding Brown’s recommendation, the CRC’s commissioners slapped TerrAscend with four times the recommended maximum penalty as outlined in state regulations.