The NJ Monitor reports
Cannabis regulators on Thursday denied Curaleaf, the biggest player in New Jersey’s nascent cannabis industry, a renewal of licenses that allow it to grow and sell recreational marijuana at almost all of its Garden State locations.
The vote represents a surprising blow to the cannabis giant, and comes just about a week before the first anniversary of recreational weed sales in the state. It left observers stunned, and a representative of Curaleaf seeking help from the attorney general and wondering aloud about legal action.
Without a license, Curaleaf’s approval for recreational sales lapses on April 21 at two of its three locations, Bellmawr and Edgewater Park. Its Bordentown location remains unaffected by Thursday’s vote.
The action by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission comes a month after Curaleaf confirmed it is closing one of its growing facilities and laying off 40 workers. Commission members cited the closure, along with the company’s clash with unionization and its lack of transparency with the state, as reasons for rejecting Curaleaf’s license renewal.
“I think it’s important for the board to have staff at large to have proper insight and timely notice of major changes to facility operations,” said commission Chair Dianna Houenou. “It seems there’s still a lot of information missing that should be provided, and that should be done in a way, in a manner that is forthcoming and transparent.”
Only one member of the commission — Samuel Delgado — voted to approve the annual license for Curaleaf, one of the biggest cannabis companies in the nation.
A Curaleaf spokesperson called the commission’s action an “outrageous act of political retaliation” that lacks merit and legal basis.
“Most alarmingly, it will adversely impact our employees — nearly 500 New Jersey residents and Curaleaf team members — as much as it will harm the broader New Jersey cannabis market,” the company said.
Cannabis advocates and potential licensees in the commission’s packed meeting room in Trenton were stunned by the vote’s outcome. People whispered to each other afterward, asking what it meant for Curaleaf’s products, consumers in South Jersey, and the industry as a whole. One person clapped.