On November 26, 2018, both the state Senate and Assembly budget committees voted to advance the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act (Act) to legalize recreational marijuana for the state.
The Act would legalize possession and consumption of marijuana for adults 21 years and older, and allow for the taxation and regulation of marijuana through licensed marijuana businesses. A Division of Marijuana Enforcement (Division) would be established in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
If the bill passes, marijuana business licenses will be awarded through a competitive application process at a date to be determined by the Division. The marijuana business license types to be available are outlined below.
New Jersey Marijuana Business Licenses:
Class 1 Marijuana Grower License – to cultivate marijuana and sell marijuana to marijuana producers, to marijuana processing facilities, and to other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers.
- The number of grower licenses is not to exceed a total of 25, including licenses issued to medical marijuana alternative treatment centers. Of these 25 licenses, 15 licenses shall be reserved for medical marijuana alternative treatment centers.
Class 2 Marijuana Processor License – to purchase marijuana; manufacture, prepare, and package marijuana items; and sell items to other marijuana processing facilities and to marijuana retailers, but not to consumers.
- The division is to determine a maximum number of processor licenses to be issued.
Class 3 Marijuana Wholesaler License – sells marijuana items or marijuana paraphernalia for the purpose of resale either to a licensed marijuana wholesaler or to a licensed marijuana retailer.
- The division is to determine a maximum number of wholesaler licenses to be issued.
Class 4 Marijuana Retailer License – to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana items from marijuana product manufacturing facilities or marijuana wholesalers and to sell marijuana and marijuana products to consumers.
- The division is to determine a maximum number of retailer licenses to be issued.
New Jersey Marijuana Business Licensing Details:
The bill would eliminate many prior convictions that could disqualify someone from obtaining a license to cultivate, process, or sell marijuana. Rather than disqualifying almost anyone previously convicted of a drug offense, the Division will only be able to take into account prior convictions for indictable offenses that are “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties for which the license is required.” This will make the marijuana business licenses more accessible to the general public, and may increase competition.
The bill would also establish a licensing benchmark for minority, disabled-veterans and women businesses, to encourage that at least 30% of the total number of licenses are awarded to them.
Impact zones are places that have been the most negatively affected by New Jersey’s previously misguided marijuana policy. Under the bill, 25% of the total licenses issued may be awarded to people who have lived in an impact zone for three or more consecutive years at the time of making the application, regardless of where the marijuana establishment is, or is, intended to be located.
Interested in Applying for a New Jersey Marijuana Business License?
In this highly competitive industry, now is the time to begin preparing for if/when the legalization bill passes and new marijuana business opportunities open. If it passes, the marijuana business licenses will be awarded through an application process at a date to be determined by the regulating department.
Will your application have what it takes to secure a marijuana business license? To educate yourself more on the application process and start drafting your required plans, download our New Jersey Marijuana Business Application Package, which includes:
- An Informational Overview of New Jersey’s pending and current marijuana laws
- An Application Guide and Checklist which gives a detailed summary and checklist of all action items you’ll need to complete before submitting your application
- A Business Plan Template to help you start drafting the required plans and executive summary for your business
- A Financial Plan Template to give you and your investors a comprehensive 3-year projection of what you can possibly expect when selling marijuana