In New Jersey, individuals 21+ may possess and use cannabis. State licensed businesses may grow, process, transport, and dispense marijuana. The following types of cannabis business licenses related to adult-use are as follows:
- Class 1 Cannabis Grower License also referred to as a “cannabis cultivation facility.”
- Class 2 Cannabis Processor License also referred to as a “cannabis product manufacturing facility.”
- Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler License
- Class 4 Cannabis Distributor License
- Class 5 Cannabis Retailer License
- Class 6 Cannabis Delivery License
Three types of cannabis businesses will receive priority review and approval in the application process:
- Social Equity Businesses: owned by people who have lived in economically disadvantaged areas of the state or who have past convictions for cannabis offenses.
- Diversely Owned Businesses: minority-owned, woman-owned, or disabled veteran-owned and certified as such by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury in one or more of the listed categories; and
- Impact Zone Businesses: located in an Impact Zone, owned by people from Impact Zones, or employ residents of Impact Zones. Impact Zones are municipalities with a large population, high unemployment rate, or high numbers of crime or arrests for marijuana.
Cannabis business license applications and applicants will be reviewed, scored, approved, and issued, such that:
- Social Equity Businesses, Diversely Owned Businesses, and Impact Zone Businesses always have priority over other license applicants;
- Conditional license applicants always have priority over annual license applicants;
- Microbusinesses license applicants always have priority over standard cannabis business license applicants;
- License applicants given bonus points pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:6I-36(d)(2) have priority over license applicants with no bonus points; and
- The priority of the review, scoring, and approval of license applications and issuance of licenses is consistent with meeting the market demands of the State, with the Act, and this chapter.
The rules ensure that New Jersey has a safe cannabis industry that is well-regulated and does not market products to young people under the age of 21. Advertising is restricted so that cannabis is primarily marketed to those of legal age.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) also put rules in place to prioritize small businesses, called Microbusinesses. There will be no cap on the number of microbusiness licenses. To qualify as a microbusiness, the following criteria must be met:
- Have a smaller footprint than a standard cannabis business
- 100% of the ownership interest must be held by current NJ residents who have resided there for the past consecutive two years at time of application
- 51% of the ownership must reside in the municipality in which the business is seeking to operate
- No more than 10 employees at a time
- Retail must be smaller than 2500 square feet
- Cultivator – can possess no more than 1000 cannabis plants per month
In addition to the state regulations, municipalities can enact ordinances that:
- Authorize certain types of cannabis businesses;
- Set numerical limits on the numbers of certain types of businesses operating within the jurisdiction;
- Restrict hours of operation and locations;
- Create local licensing requirements and set civil penalties;
- Restrict types of cultivation;
- Establish a 2% transfer tax; and
- Communicate the municipality’s preference for licensure to the Commission.
Updates will be posted on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Website.