NEW JERSEY CANNABIS PROGRAM
Medical and adult-use marijuana is now legal in New Jersey – registered patients may possess, use, and purchase medical marijuana from state licensed businesses. On November 3, 2020, New Jersey voters voted to legalize adult-use/recreational marijuana. State licensed businesses are allowed to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana – learn more about how to get a New Jersey marijuana business license or schedule a complimentary consultation with our licensing expert, below.
When to Apply
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NUMBER OF NEW JERSEY MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES AVAILABLE
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Business License: The program was first established in 2010 with vertically integrated Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) licenses, which allowed for the cultivation, processing, and dispensing of medical marijuana to qualified patients. The state awarded six (6) ATCs in 2011, and an additional six ATCs in 2018.
In May 2019, the state allowed for ATC licenses with specialty endorsements for cultivation, processing, or dispensing, as outlined below. Vertically integrated permits include 1 cultivation endorsement, 1 manufacturing endorsement and 1 dispensary endorsement. In total, the state issued up to 5 cultivation endorsements, up to 15 dispensary endorsements, and up to 4 vertically integrated permits.
Cultivation Endorsements: The permit endorsement allows an ATC license to possess, cultivate, and package marijuana; and distribute or sell marijuana to other ATCs, but not directly to registered patients. Tiered by canopy size to allow for small, medium, and large business participation.
- 20,001 Square Feet To 30,000 Square Feet: Up To 2 Cultivation Endorsements
- 5,001 Square Feet To 20,000 Square Feet: Up To 2 Cultivation Endorsements
- Up To 5,000 Square Feet: Up To 1 Cultivation Endorsement.
Manufacturing Endorsements: The permit endorsement allows an ATC license to possess and process marijuana; and purchase, manufacture, and conduct research on marijuana from other ATCs but not directly from registered patients.
Dispensary Endorsements: The permit endorsement allows an ATC license to purchase marijuana from other ATCs; and supply and sell marijuana to registered patients.
Vertically Integrated Permit: The permit is issued by the Department, which allows for a cultivation endorsement, a manufacturing endorsement, and a dispensary endorsement.
New Jersey Recreational Marijuana Business License: There will be a to-be-determined number of recreational marijuana business licenses available in New Jersey. While there is mention of marijuana businesses in the amendment, there aren’t any specifics, it calls for the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC), to establish and oversee the recreational program’s rules and regulations. Limitations (if any) and details for marijuana business licenses will likely unfold in the rule-making process.
Cannabis Cultivator: Any licensed person or entity that grows, cultivates, or produces cannabis in this State, and sells, and may transport, this cannabis to other cannabis cultivators, or usable cannabis to cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, or cannabis retailers, but not to consumers. This person or entity shall hold a Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license.
There will be no more than 37 Cultivation Licenses awarded for the initial 24 months.
Cannabis Delivery Service: Any licensed person or entity that provides courier services for consumer purchases of cannabis items and related supplies fulfilled by a cannabis retailer in order to make deliveries of the cannabis items and related supplies to that consumer, and which services include the ability of a consumer to purchase the cannabis items directly through the cannabis delivery service, which after presenting the purchase order to the cannabis retailer for fulfillment, is delivered to that consumer. This person or entity shall hold a Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license.
Cannabis Distributor: Any licensed person or entity that transports cannabis in bulk intrastate from one licensed cannabis cultivator to another licensed cannabis cultivator, or transports cannabis items in bulk intrastate from any one class of licensed cannabis establishment to another class of licensed cannabis establishment, and may engage in the temporary storage of cannabis or cannabis items as necessary to carry out transportation activities. This person or entity shall hold a Class 4 Cannabis Distributor license.
Cannabis Manufacturer: Any licensed person or entity that processes cannabis items in this State by purchasing or otherwise obtaining usable cannabis, manufacturing, preparing, and packaging cannabis items, and selling, and optionally transporting, these items to other cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, or cannabis retailers, but not to consumers. This person or entity shall hold a Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer license.
Cannabis Processor: Any licensed person or entity that processes cannabis items in this State by purchasing or otherwise obtaining cannabis, manufacturing, preparing, and packaging cannabis items, and selling, and optionally transporting, these items to other cannabis processors, cannabis wholesalers, or cannabis retailers, but not to consumers. This person or entity shall hold a Class 2 Cannabis Processor license. A cannabis processor may also be referred to as a “cannabis product manufacturing facility.”
Cannabis Retailer: Any licensed person or entity that purchases or otherwise obtains usable cannabis from cannabis cultivators and cannabis items from cannabis manufacturers or cannabis wholesalers, and sells these to consumers from a retail store, and may use a cannabis delivery service or a certified cannabis handler for the off-premises delivery of cannabis items and related supplies to consumers. A cannabis retailer shall also accept consumer purchases to be fulfilled from its retail store that are presented by a cannabis delivery service which will be delivered by the cannabis delivery service to that consumer. This person or entity shall hold a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license.
Cannabis Wholesaler: Any licensed person or entity that purchases or otherwise obtains, stores, sells or otherwise transfers, and may transport, cannabis items for the purpose of resale or other transfer to either to another cannabis wholesaler or to a cannabis retailer, but not to consumers. This person or entity shall hold a Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler license.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will determine the maximum number of licenses for each license class based on market demand by June 2021.
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN NEW JERSEY
To obtain a marijuana business license in New Jersey, you will be required to submit an application. As part of the application, some of the plans you will need to include the following:
- Security Plan
- Environmental Impact Plan
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance Plan
- Business History Plan
- Financial Plan
- Community Benefits Plan
- Research Plan
- Cultivation, Manufacturing and/or Dispensing Plan
- Labor Compliance Plan
- Staffing and Training Plan
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application expert to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
ENHANCED OVERVIEW OF MARIJUANA IN NEW JERSEY
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Overview: The state of New Jersey legalized medical cannabis in 2010, through a legislative bill, Senate Bill 119, which provided a legal way for qualifying patients in the state to access and utilize medical cannabis as a form of treatment for their ailment. Access to medical cannabis is through state licensed businesses, Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) that are allowed to grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis. By 2018, there were 12 total ATCs statewide.
When Gov. Phil Murphy took office, the Gov. immediately made changes to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. Improvements to the program included adding 5 qualifying medical condition (including chronic pain); allowing for a non-vertical business model; reduction in patient fees; and the opening of satellite dispensary locations for existing business licensees to increase patient access.
Gov. Murphy worked with state legislators to legalize recreational marijuana throughout 2019 but ultimately was unsuccessful, which led him to expand further on the medical marijuana program, to increase medical marijuana business opportunities, product supply, and patient access. This was accomplished by amending the rules to establish separate specialty permits for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries; and simplifying the process to add qualifying medical conditions to the program.
Additionally, in 2019, Gov. Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which included further improvements to the program. The 2019 reforms:
- Increased monthly limits from 2 ounces to 3
- Legalized medical marijuana edibles for adults
- Phased out the sales tax on medical marijuana
- Removed the requirement for patients to have a bona fide relationship with their doctor
- Established a new regulatory department, Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to oversee the medical marijuana program
- Legalized home delivery of medical marijuana to registered patients
- Allows dispensaries to establish “consumption areas” on dispensary premises.
- Called for the licensing of an additional 11 new cultivation centers due to growing patient demand
On July of 2019, the state released an updated Request for Applications to license 24 additional ATCs – applications were due August of 2019.
View the entire New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/PL09/307_.HTM
New Jersey Recreational Marijuana Overview: New Jersey Public Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, was on the ballot in New Jersey as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, February 24, 2021 signed three bills into law: A21, A1897, S3454.
A21 is known as the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act”, which legalizes personal use cannabis for certain adults, subject to State regulation; decriminalizes small amount marijuana and hashish possession; removes marijuana as Schedule I drug.
A1897 provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly addressing legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offenses as well as raising awareness of available expungement relief.
S3254 clarifies penalties for marijuana and cannabis possession and consumption for individuals younger than 21 years old.
Here’s what to expect from the program:
- The Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC) and the state Legislature will still need to develop rules and regulations.
- The existing 12 medical marijuana operators would be authorized to receive an adult-use license.
- There will be no more than 37 Cultivation Licenses awarded for the initial 24 months, and the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will determine the maximum number of licenses for each other license class based on market demand by June 2021.
- 30% of licenses must be allocated to businesses owned by women, minorities or disabled veterans.
- Priority would be given based on “impact zones,” or municipalities negatively impacted by unemployment, poverty or past marijuana enforcement activity.
- Adult-use sales would be taxed at 7%. Municipalities could charge local sales taxes of up to 2%.
- Proceeds from the excise fee and 70% of the state sales tax would go to programs in communities disadvantaged by the prohibition on marijuana.
NEW JERSEY MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2010 – New Jersey legalized medical cannabis
2012 – First New Jersey ATC opened and medical cannabis sales began
2018 – New Jersey awarded additional ATC licenses (Phase 2)
2019 – New Jersey awarded additional stand-alone business licenses (Phase 3)
Dec 2019 – State passed a resolution to put Question 1 on the Nov 2020 ballot
Nov 3, 2020 – The state passed Question 1, to legalize recreational marijuana
Jan 2021 – The New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a bill that provided the regulatory framework for the Adult-Use Program. Gov. Phil Murphy is working on a few minor changes and a revised bill is expected to be signed soon.
Feb 2021 – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, February 24, 2021 signed three bills into law: A21, A1897, S3454.
June 2021 – The Cannabis Regulatory Commission will develop rules and regulations
Q3 2021 – We anticipate the application process for new licenses to be open
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