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NJ legal weed applications officially open, 500 submitted in first four hours

Now that the state of New Jersey is taking applications for cannabis growers, testing sites, lab operators, manufacturers and more, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has already seen a large influx of applications.

According to APP:

The floodgates are open!

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission on Wednesday began officially accepting applications from cannabis growers, manufacturers and testing laboratory operators looking to break into the legal weed industry in New Jersey.

Applications from prospective marijuana dispensary owners won’t open until March 15.

“We are happy to reach this milestone,” CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said in a statement. “Applications are coming in, the platform is performing well, and we can officially mark the launch of the state’s recreational cannabis industry.

“Getting cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs licensed and operating will set the framework and establish supply for retailers who will start licensing in March 2022.”

Nearly 500 individuals or entities filed applications in the first four hours the CRC website was open. By 1 p.m., the form was generating about 155 users per hour, the Brown said.

The application process is a prelude to sales of recreational marijuana, approved by over two-thirds of New Jersey voters in a 2020 ballot measure. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission hasn’t provided an estimate on when sales can begin.

Unlike medical marijuana applications previously handled by the Department of Health, there are no deadlines by which license applications must be submitted.

And while the commission can only issue 37 licenses for cannabis cultivators before February 2023, there is no cap on the number of licenses the commission can award to manufacturers, testing laboratories or dispensaries.

Under state law, cannabis businesses must adhere to both state and municipal law. About 400 towns, or 70% of all municipalities, had opted out of the cannabis industry by mid-August, passing ordinances completely banning all types of marijuana businesses.

The CRC will review applications and issue licenses based on a series of equity and inclusion criteria.

“Equity” applicants, filed by those who have been convicted of marijuana crimes or live in economically disadvantaged areas, been convicted for marijuana charges, are placed at the front of the line, followed by applications with diverse ownership and those located in impact zones.

Impact zones are towns or cities with large populations who also have high rates of crime, unemployment and a history of marijuana possession arrests.

Within each category, conditional and microbusiness applications will be considered before standard, annual license applications. Conditional applicants are entrepreneurs who have a business plan but require state approval before bringing on investors or winning approval from a local municipality.

Microbusiness licenses are awarded with restrictions on the number of employees and how much cannabis can be grown or sold as a way for entrepreneurs without a lot of capital to get their foot in the door.

Conditional applicants are expected to eventually convert to a standard, annual license. Microbusiness license holders can but are not required to convert to an annual license.

Original Source