Today is the first day the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) will accept applications to open an adult-use cannabis dispensary in New Jersey.
Many companies are expected to apply. The NJCRC’s adult-use cannabis interim regulations have made the process easier. They lowered the barriers to entry imposed on the medical cannabis program during the Christie Administration.
According to an update from the NJCRC, 172 applications were submitted by 4 pm today.
Converting the existing medical cannabis dispensaries to adult-use is a separate plan taking longer than many expected. Part of the problem is dispensaries do not understand or sought to circumvent town control of the process.
For months, applicants have been advised by cannabis policy experts to begin assembling the necessary parts of the application that are the most difficult, like finding a good location and access to capital.
Adult-use cultivation and manufacturing license applications were first accepted by the NJCRC last December 15th. Adult-use applicants who submitted incomplete information have been notified via a rejection letter. Those who receive such a letter can complete their application so that it will then to the back of the line of applications that need to be reviewed.
NJCRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said it would likely take longer than 90 days to announce results from the initial batch of applications since the NJCRC is understaffed.
The medical cannabis dispensaries awarded in October and December are still in the paperwork process. It is difficult to speculate how long it will take to see New Jersey’s first only adult-use cannabis dispensaries will open. If the NJCRC can finish scoring some applications by early July, ideally with perhaps two to three more months leaves September when they could then begin the process of getting set up. Those with the most cash and a signed lease for a property that does not need a good deal of renovation could possibly be open by December. But that is an optimistic prediction.