New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Launches Application Process for Recreational-Use Businesses

Fox Rothschild LLP

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) held a public meeting on November 9, 2021 and released the 2021 Personal Use (Recreational) Notice of Application.

As announced at the meeting, the CRC will begin accepting adult-use applications commencing December 15, 2021. Specifically, as of that date, CRC will begin accepting license applications for Cultivation, Manufacturers and Testing Laboratories, and 90 days later, on March 15, 2022, will begin accepting adult-use license applications for Retailers.

The Notice of Application includes:

  • eligibility requirements
  • prioritization process
  • application requirements (e.g., forms, supporting documents, etc.)
  • scoring measures; and
  • approval process and denial determinations

The Notice of Application also provides clarity on local approval and municipality preferences. Specifically, it outlines what applicants need in municipality letters or resolutions of support, what counts as a municipal preference, and the consistency between them. However, the Notice of Application does not address the expanded ATC certification process, distributor licenses, wholesaler licenses, or delivery service licenses – and the CRC commented that those items will be addressed in future CRC guidance.

Priority of Applications

Significantly, the CRC also revealed how it will prioritize applications. Essentially, applications will be accepted on a continuous rolling basis and will be prioritized for review, scoring, and approved in the following order:

  1. Social Equity Businesses Applicants
  2. Diversely Owned Businesses Applicants
  3. Impact Zone Businesses Applicants
  4. License Applicants receiving bonus points for collective bargaining agreements, project labor agreements or residency
  5. All other applicants

Moreover, priority will be given to conditional license applications over annual license applications, and microbusiness applications will be prioritized over standard cannabis business applications in every category.

Additional highlights of the Notice of Application include a pass/fail scoring model. If an application has been deemed complete, it will receive full points. In contrast, an incomplete application will receive no points and be rejected with an opportunity to cure and resubmit, which means that all measures, except for bonus point categories, must receive scores to move forward. Bonus points only count toward priority, and they do not count toward the score necessary for license approval.

The next step is for the CRC to release the online application forms, the lists of Economic Disadvantaged Areas zip codes and Impact Zone municipalities. Additionally, the CRC will be hosting a pre-application webinar on November 30, 2021. A link to the meeting can be found here.

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Originally Published at JD Supra

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