The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) approved 41 NJ adult use cannabis licenses during their short virtual August meeting.
Initially, the August meeting was not on their schedule. However, applicants waiting and paying rent on empty buildings likely exerted pressure felt by the NJ-CRC.
NJ-CRC Licensing Progress Update
According to NJ-CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown, there have been 105 conversions awarded from 1208 conditional applications that applied.
246 annual NJ adult use cannabis licenses currently have been awarded by the NJ-CRC.
Only companies with annual NJ adult use cannabis licenses can open.
“After today, it’s going to grow, and it’s going to continue to grow,” Brown said.
Overall, they have approved 1399 applications for licenses. 349 conditional conversion applications were submitted to the NJ-CRC.
Brown explained 30 conversions licenses from conditional to annual NJ adult use cannabis license were up on the agenda. They vetted them thoroughly on several metrics.
Conditional Conversion Applications Approved
Today’s New Jersey adult use cannabis license conditional conversion winners were:
- 2521 Jerzey Grown Cultivator Micro
- 2578 Canna P Farms Cultivator Standard
- 2584 Grasshopper Farms NJ LLC Cultivator Standard
- 2585 Grasshopper Farms NJ LLC Manufacturer Standard
- 2589 City Leaf Corporation Retailer Micro
- 2331 West Orange Wellness LLC Retailer Standard
- 2593 Garden State Recreational Grown LLC Cultivator Micro
- 2459 Green Group Grows NJ Cultivator Micro
- 2149 Jersey Shores Ventures Group LLC Cultivator Micro
- 2445 Pure Cultivations Cultivator Micro
- 1990 Green Recreational Cultivator Standard
- 1997 Green Recreational Manufacturer Standard
- 2690 Loud Labs NJ Manufacturer Standard
- 2698 Feels of Green Retailer Micro
- 2693 Golden Door Dispensary, LLC Retailer Micro
- 2473 Pure Blossom Retailer Micro
- 2797 Pure Natural Vibes LLC Retailer Micro
- 2856 Anja Life LLC Retailer Standard
- 2899 Blue Violet Cannabis Retailer Standard
- 2548 City Leaves LLC Retailer Standard
- 2462 Enlighten Health & Wellness, LLC Retailer Standard
- 2860 Indakure Retailer Standard
- 2880 Jersey Roots Dispensary Retailer Standard
- 2562 Mass Grown Retailer Standard
- 2492 PG Health LLC Retailer Standard
- 2628 Sunnytien Retailer Standard
- 2636 Unity Rd. SNJ LLC Retailer Standard
- 2641 Voltaire NJ Inc Retailer Standard
- 2559 Sensory Dispensary Retailer Standard
- 2574 Canfections NJ, Inc. Manufacturer Standard
The NJ-CRC approved them 4 to 0.
NJ-CRC Commissioner Maria Del Cid Kosso was absent since she is likely still on maternity leave.
Annual NJ Adult Use Cannabis License Approvals
Brown noted the following annual NJ adult use cannabis license applicants scored sufficiently for approval. The NJ-CRC assessed them and recommended them for approval.
- 2582 Camden Apothecary, Inc. Retailer Standard
- 2081 Goldfinch Wellness LLC Retailer Standard
- 2383 Lemon 22 LLC Retailer Standard
- 2077 Nevaeh Verde LLC Retailer Standard
- 2391 Fire and Oak LLC Retailer Standard
- 2316 Pinelands Apothecary LLC Retailer Standard
- 1574 Evergreen Nature’s Remedy LLC Retailer Standard
- 2408 MMD NJ, Inc. Retailer Standard
- 2297 Prince Garden LLC Cultivator Standard
- 2429 Blaze Keyport LLC Retailer Standard
- 2047 Bridge City Collective Franklin Township Cannabis Dispensary LLC Retailer Standard
The NJ-CRC approved the first ten applicants 4-0.
The 11th, Bridge City Collective was considered independently. Commissioner Krista Nash recused herself from the decision due to a conflict of interest.
“Aye on the condition the applicant can provide the Commission with its details on its Social Responsibility plan,” Commissioner Charles Barker said.
“We’ve already requested said document,” Brown replied.
Thus, the NJ-CRC approved them 3-0, with Nash recused and Del Cid Kosso absent.
NJ-CRC Chair’s Report
NJ-CRC Chair Dianna Houenou noted that their September 8th meeting will be in person in Trenton.
It will also be during the NECANN cannabis industry convention in Atlantic City, which many New Jersey cannabis professionals are likely planning to attend. Last year’s September NJ-CRC meeting was also during NECANN.
“Stay tuned for major announcements,” Houenou said.
“With nearly 200 annual licenses approved, the agency has made tremendous progress,” she added.
Houenou said many new businesses have opened, including one that was a Social Equity applicant. But she did not specify which.
“The biggest barriers to businesses opening up are outside the control of the commission,” she noted.
Houenou explained it is hard to find a property in a Green Zone where cannabis companies are allowed.
Less than half of New Jersey towns have any Green Zone.
Three-fourths of New Jersey conditional cannabis license winners need more time due to these reasons, she noted.
Underground Legacy Versus Legal Cannabis
Houenou said people are purchasing “unregulated marijuana” before waiting and switching to a better market.
“Consumers are using their purchasing power to convey they want to support more local entrepreneurs,” she explained.
That is a very widespread sentiment within parts of the New Jersey cannabis community.
Houenou alleged there was a risk in buying cannabis products from the underground legacy “black market.” But she did not specify what could happen.
Moldy cannabis has only been found and reported in legal New Jersey cannabis products.
“We do encourage consumers, um, to, to buy products from regulated businesses,” Houenou said.
“We will continue to see more store openings for the public,” she added.
The NJ-CRC is in the difficult position of discouraging legacy cannabis sales while providing a path to legitimacy they have acknowledged is nearly impossible to get through.
New Jersey Adult Use Cannabis Market Progress
Brown noted NJ adult use cannabis licensed dispensaries have started opening more quickly.
He announced they had received New Jersey adult use cannabis sales revenue numbers.
“The market saw an expansion quarter after quarter,” Brown explained.
New Jersey adult use cannabis sales revenue increased from $145 million to $160 million.
Tax revenue did not see as high as an increase, only increasing 1.4 percent.
However, Brown said there was a significant increase in the Social Equity excise fee that will go to address social justice issues.
More cannabis has been sold, which increased tax revenue.
“We’ve already seen an increase in July versus June for sales,” Brown noted. “The market continues to expand.”
He explained noted medical cannabis sales are decreasing from $34 to $32 million after decreasing from its peak.
“Prices are still very high. It’s a barrier for consumers,” Brown admitted.
“If you don’t buy legal, you don’t have the guaranteed safety,” he argued. “As it becomes more convenient for adults, they will be more likely to do so.”
Brown criticized the Delta 8 and Delta 9 hemp market.
“We’re seeing a proliferation of these products,” he noted.
Brown called it a “gray area.”
While there are New Jersey licensed hemp companies, “Delta 8 and Delta 9 products are not allowed to be made here,” he declared. “There’s a lot of these gray area products coming from out of state. They are all over, and they are impacting legal sales.”
Public Comments on Prices and Union Issues
“Legacy operators are providing a steady supply at half the price,” NORML cannabis advocate Chris Goldstein said during the public comment period.
He noted that cheaper adult use cannabis can be found in Maryland and Maine.
UFCW labor union Organizing Director Hugh Giordano said the TerrAsecnd cannabis corporation is not treating its workers well. They are hindering their ability to form a union to secure better pay and benefits. TerrAscend signed a Labor Peace Agreement, which said they would not interfere if their workers wanted to join a union. However, they are not honoring it.
Giordano said other Multi-State Operator (MSOs) cannabis corporations are far friendlier towards the union.
“They’re breaking the state law as well. Labor peace is the law of the land,” he declared. “We will continue to do our job.
Giordano noted MPX workers in South Jersey joined their union and praised their management for working with them and following their LPA.
(Full disclosure Heady NJ is partnering with the UFCW on an event tomorrow where I will be the Master of Ceremonies!)