NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) released the lists of Impact Zones and Economically Disadvantaged Areas which are crucial to the adult-use cannabis license applications process.

Heady NJ has all the details

The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) released the lists of Impact Zones and Economically Disadvantaged Areas which are crucial to the adult-use cannabis license applications process.

Cannabis license applications will be reviewed in the following order:

  • Social Equity Businesses- owned by people who have lived in an Economically Disadvantaged Area or have cannabis convictions (expunged or not) that:
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness (limited to 10 employees and 2,500 square feet.)
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business
    • Have submitted a conditional license conversion application
  • Diversely Owned businesses- minority-owned, woman-owned, or disabled veteran-owned and certified as such by the NJ Treasury Department that:
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business
    • Have submitted a conditional license conversion application
  • Impact Zone Businesses- located in an Impact Zone, owned by people from an Impact Zone, or employing residents of Impact Zones that:
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business
    • Have submitted a conditional license conversion application
  • License applicants receiving bonus points that:
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business
    • Have submitted a conditional license conversion application
  • All other applicants for conditional licenses that:
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business
    • Have submitted a conditional license conversion application
  • Social Equity Businesses that:
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business
  • Diversely-Owned businesses that:
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness
    •  Notice of Application Acceptance
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business
  • Impact Zone Businesses that:
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business
  • License applicants receiving bonus points that:
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business; and
  • All other applicants for annual licenses that:
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness
    • Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business.

Bonus points will be awarded to companies that sign an agreement saying they would allow their workers to form a labor union, they will allow unionized construction workers to erect their buildings, or have one company owner who has lived in New Jersey for at least five years.

The new application approval process represents a complete change in policy from the medical cannabis license application process which did not favor those with cannabis convictions, nor New Jerseyans since it favored experience gained in a legitimate cannabis market.

Impact Zones List Released

According to the legislation, an Impact Zone is any town, based on past criminal marijuana enterprises contributing to higher concentrations of law enforcement activity, unemployment, and poverty, or any combination thereof, within parts of or throughout the municipality that:

  • Has a population of 120,000 or more.
  • Ranks in the top 40 percent of New Jersey towns for marijuana arrests; has a crime index total of 825 or higher, and has a local average annual unemployment rate in the top 15 percent of all towns
  • Based upon the county’s population, it meets all of the criteria in (2) other than having a crime index of 825 or higher

OR

  • Based upon the county’s population:
    • has a population of less than 60,000, ranks in the top 40 percent of municipalities for marijuana arrests; has a crime index total of 1,000 or higher, but in 2019 did not have a local average annual unemployment rate that ranks in the top 15 percent of all municipalities; or
    • with a population of not less than 60,000 or more than 80,000; has a crime index total of 650 or higher, and in 2019 had a local average annual unemployment rate of three percent or higher using the same estimated annual unemployment rates.

Eighty-seven towns in 18 counties qualify as Impact Zones. These Impact Zones have an average unemployment rate 32 percent higher than other towns, 77 percent more marijuana arrests, and a Crime Index 34 percent higher than normal. The CRC noted that 21 towns with median family incomes above New Jersey’s average median family income qualify as Impact Zones.

The following towns count as Impact Zones:

  • Asbury Park
  • Atlantic City
  • Bass River Township
  • Bellmawr borough
  • Berlin borough
  • Berlin Township
  • Bordentown Township
  • Bridgeton city
  • Brooklawn borough
  • Buena borough
  • Buena Vista Township
  • Burlington city
  • Burlington Township
  • Camden city
  • Carneys Point Township
  • Carteret borough
  • Cinnaminson Township
  • Commercial Township
  • Deptford Township
  • Dover
  • East Brunswick Township
  • East Hanover
  • East Orange
  • Elizabeth
  • Evesham Township
  • Ewing Township
  • Franklin Township (Gloucester)
  • Franklin Township (Somerset County)
  • Garfield
  • Glassboro
  • Gloucester City
  • Gloucester Township
  • Haledon borough
  • Hamilton Township (Atlantic County)
  • Hanover Township
  • Hillside Township
  • Irvington Township
  • Jersey City
  • Lawrence Township (Mercer County)
  • Lindenwold borough
  • Lower Township
  • Lumberton Township
  • Mantua Township
  • Maurice River Township
  • Metuchen borough
  • Middle Township
  • Millville city
  • Monroe Township (Gloucester County)
  • Monroe Township (Middlesex County)
  • Morris Plains borough
  • Morristown
  • Mount Ephraim borough
  • Mount Holly Township
  • Mount Laurel Township
  • New Brunswick
  • Newark
  • North Brunswick Township
  • North Plainfield
  • North Wildwood
  • Orange city
  • Palmyra borough
  • Passaic city
  • Paterson
  • Paulsboro borough
  • Pemberton Township
  • Pennsauken Township
  • Perth Amboy
  • Plainfield
  • Pleasantville
  • Prospect Park
  • Riverdale
  • Roselle
  • Salem city
  • Seaside Heights
  • South Plainfield
  • Southampton Township
  • Trenton
  • Tuckerton borough
  • Vineland city
  • Washington Township (Gloucester County)
  • Wayne
  • West Deptford
  • Westampton Township
  • Wildwood
  • Willingboro Township
  • Winslow Township
  • Woodbury city

Economically Disadvantaged Areas Defined

Economically Disadvantaged Areas (EDAs) are defined as zip codes that have a median income of 80 percent or less of New Jersey’s median household income, and a health uninsured rate at least 150 percent of the state’s health uninsured rate. Fifty-five communities qualify as EDAs. Some of these are neighborhoods or Census Designated Places within larger towns. The following communities are EDAs:

  • East Orange
  • Several neighborhoods in Elizabeth
  • Fairton
  • Fairview
  • Fort Monmouth
  • Garfield
  • Harrisonville
  • Irvington
  • Several neighborhoods in Jersey City
  • Keasbey
  • Landisville
  • Long Branch
  • Lyons
  • New Brunswick
  • Several neighborhoods in Newark
  • North Bergen
  • Orange city
  • Passaic city
  • Several neighborhoods in Paterson
  • Perth Amboy
  • Plainfield
  • Plainfield
  • Pleasantville
  • Richwood
  • Teterboro
  • Several neighborhoods in Trenton
  • Union City
  • Vauxhall
  • West New York

Not all the places that qualify as an Impact Zone or EDA have opted to allow adult-use cannabis companies.

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