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The two new adult-use cannabis retailers are Earth & Ivy, in New Brunswick, and Nova Farms, in Woodbury.
The Woodbury store is located in an “impact zone,” designated by the New Jersey government as a municipality “disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs for particular consideration in New Jersey’s burgeoning cannabis market.”
“Over the last two years we have grown the number of (medical marijuana dispensaries) open to patients and overseen several of them through to expansion into recreational cannabis,” CRC executive director Jeff Brown said in a statement.
Adult users now can buy from 18 dispensaries scattered around the state that also serve medical patients. The CRC has issued 140 conditional legal weed dispensary licenses, but none have opened.
The social equity fees, which are due on each sale of an ounce of recreational cannabis, is at the rate of $1.10 per ounce, according to the CRC and state Treasury Department.
The ideas New Jersey residents offered up Wednesday night were equally varied.
“If you ask 10 people what is social equity, you’ll get 10 different answers,” warned Hasaan Austin, one of the first speakers.
Joe Johnson of Newark urged the commission to give or loan “significant funding” to applicants from impact zones, saying other states that failed to do so fell short in their social justice goals.
Expungement clinics. School buses. Wheelchair ramps. Cannabis community centers. Training for rookie entrepreneurs. Grants and no-interest loans.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission heard all sorts of ideas Wednesday night from 15 people during an hourlong virtual public hearing held to solicit input for how the state should spend tax revenue from the new recreational marijuana market when sales eventually begin.
The commission also heard plenty of ideas on how they should not spend the money.
Increasingly, a group of larger companies known as multistate operators, or MSOs, dominate the industry. While still small compared with, say, liquor companies, the largest MSOs have dozens of stores and hundreds of millions in annual revenue. Leading MSOs such as Curaleaf, Cresco Labs, and Columbia Care have raised money by going public in Canada.
Serving A Greater Good
According to Jeff Brown, assistant commissioner, Medicinal Marijuana at the New Jersey Department of Health in Trenton, the legalization of recreational marijuana presents tremendous opportunities to the state on many fronts.
While 65 percent of New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legalization last November, state legislators still had some work to do to finalize the specific rules and regulations. The final law, for instance, stipulates that some marijuana-related activities will still be illegal, such as distribution and growing without a license.
As tortured as the path to legalization has been, now the hard part really begins.
Come Jan. 1, the new laws go into effect with a host of unresolved issues. Those issues will be left for a newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), as well as the state attorney general. At the heart of these future policy decisions is how to create a $1 billion industry that will overtake the current illicit market and create tax revenue that will be used to help the minority communities (impact zones) hardest hit by disparate treatment by law enforcement in the so-called war on drugs.
New Jersey’s cannabis legislation is moving fast. The Garden State will soon allow recreational use and sales, joining 14 other states in America’s recent Green Rush.
The state’s passage of Question 2 in the Nov. 3 election legalized adult-use cannabis, but now it’s up to the Legislature to establish the detailed rules. Leafly went deep into the weeds of NJ’s 200-page bill and came away with the key takeaways you need to know before the scheduled December 17 vote.
What’s in (and not in) A-21/S-21?
“[The bill] has been introduced as the most progressive cannabis legislation in the country yet it falls short of substantive social equity provisions seen in other states,” said Jessica Gonzalez, General Counsel for Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), in an email to Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.