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NJ Cannabis Dispensary Operator’s Problems Underreported

According to Bloomberg.com, moldy dispensary cannabis and other problems in seven of the 12 NJ cannabis dispensary operators managing 27 dispensary locations the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) oversees have been underreported in New Jersey.

While several cannabis companies have been approved for the New Jersey medical and adult-use cannabis markets, none are open yet.

The documents obtained by Bloomberg note seven NJ cannabis dispensary operators had 54 violations between January 2020 and April 2022. That was when the New Jersey adult-use cannabis market opened.

Zen Leaf Dispensary Cannabis Named Worst Offender

The most violations occurred at Verano Zen Leaf’s three dispensaries in Elizabeth, Lawrence Twp, and Neptune Twp. Verano was cited 20 times.

The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) watched the Zen Leaf security video. They saw workers using “fraudulent security access cards” three times. At least twice, Zen Leaf allegedly sold to people whose names weren’t in a medical-user registry. 

“Look back through your list of errors. You can see that your staff regularly neglects to enter patient purchases into the registry,” the NJCRC told Verano. They replied back, saying their workers were puzzled by math.

In April 2021, the NJCRC mandated Verano destroy 127 pounds of cannabis worth $900,000 at $450 an ounce. The problem was it was contaminated.

Earlier this year, five companies were fined a total of $360,000 for violating adult-use cannabis rules. Verano was fined $90,000, the most of all the companies, for selling to adult-use cannabis customers during patient-only hours.

Verano was “required to follow an unmatched level of regulation and compliance,” their spokesperson said.

“We continue to regularly review all of our operating procedures and protocols. We are following all applicable laws and regulations in the states in which we operate,” she added.

Curaleaf in 2nd Place for Worst NJ Dispensary

Curaleaf was cited ten times for mold, security, and labeling violations. The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission issued a recall of Curaleaf cannabis sold by GTI Rise after Heady NJ detailed the health problems of the buyer.

“We work quickly to remediate any issues and update our standard processes and procedures to achieve the highest level of service, quality, and trust that our patients and consumers deserve,” a Curaleaf spokesperson said. “Our business depends on it.”

A spokesperson for the New Jersey CRC said that all the violations had been corrected.

“Our goal for issuing a violation is to correct the action that led to a violation,” she said.

Many Minor Violations

Not all the violations were for mold. In March 2021, an Ascend inventory review showed that 50 jars amounting to six ounces of cannabis went missing. It was not immediately reported. They are required to do it, unfortunately.

Unlike in other industries, the government remains suspicious of cannabis inventory that “fell off the truck.”

The NJCRC told Ascend if they submitted an explanation of what occurred and how it will not occur in the future they would be ok. A spokesman for New York-based Ascend declined to comment on the incident.

Many New Jersey cannabis activists, businesspeople, professionals, and consumers remain unhappy with the small number of out-of-state corporations that sell expensive and mediocre cannabis and have operated like a cartel in the New Jersey Cannabis market.

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