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NJCRC Approves 106 New Jersey Cannabis Licenses & Discusses Issues

The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) approved 106 New Jersey cannabis licenses and discussed the opening of a limited portal for more license types.

“Happy Pride everyone. We can never forget the connection between the history of cannabis and the LGBTQ community,” CRC Chair Dianna Houenou said. “I know a lot of applicants are very eager to get decisions on their applications. We as Commissioners, are just as eager to get applications across the finish line.”

She said applications are reviewed for thoroughness on many issues. Many have had problems. Houenou encouraged those with issues to reach out to address the issue.

NJCRC Deputy Executive Director Kelly Anderson led the meeting in the absence of Executive Director Jeff Brown.

She explained 71 conditional applications, 29 conversions, and six annual New Jersey cannabis license applications would be approved.

NJ Conditional License Application Winners

The following companies won conditional New Jersey cannabis licenses:

1 2818 IAMYCO Distributions LLC Conditional Cultivator

2 2760 A La Herb LLC Conditional Cultivator

3 2907 Gas Station 415 LLC Conditional Cultivator

4 2916 GENERATIONS OG LLC Conditional Cultivator

5 2799 Green Gruntz Growery Conditional Cultivator

6 2767 Green Liberty, LLC Conditional Cultivator

7 2804 Head High Canna Company Conditional Cultivator

8 2789 Hedding Farm LLC Conditional Cultivator

9 2929 Market Wave LLC Conditional Cultivator

10 2448 Mule Extracts LLC Conditional Cultivator

11 2761 NJ Pro Growers LLC Conditional Cultivator

12 2941 Pure Green Harvest LLC Conditional Cultivator

13 2830 SNAILHOUSEUS LLC Conditional Manufacturer

14 2781 A La Herb LLC Conditional Manufacturer

15 2739 Flower & Flame LLC Conditional Manufacturer

16 2896 Gas Station 415 LLC Conditional Manufacturer

17 2800 Green Gruntz Growery Conditional Manufacturer

18 2790 Hedding Farm LLC Conditional Manufacturer

19 1180 Illtown Growers LLC Conditional Manufacturer

20 2966 Market Wave LLC Conditional Manufacturer

21 2928 North Lake Supply LLC Conditional Manufacturer

22 2940 Pure Green Harvest LLC Conditional Manufacturer

23 2871 The Lucky Leaf LLC Conditional Manufacturer

24 2876 Topless Pre Rolls LLC Conditional Manufacturer

25 2659 Bergen Bud Cannabis Company Conditional Retailer

26 2951 BeStoned Conditional Retailer

27 2903 Blazin Buddiez Conditional Retailer

28 2861 California Chronic Conditional Retailer

29 2936 Can XA Group LLC Conditional Retailer

30 2945 Flower Queen Conditional Retailer

31 1915 High Buddy Conditional Retailer

32 1484 High Street Industries Conditional Retailer

33 2863 High Timez LLC Conditional Retailer

34 2822 Jersey Joints Conditional Retailer

35 2735 Lake of Leaves Inc Conditional Retailer

More NJ Conditional Cannabis License Winners

36 1687 Mary’s Market Conditional Retailer

37 2921 Natures Bliss Conditional Retailer

38 2756 Pass To The Left Dispensary, LLC Conditional Retailer

39 2775 Pure Bliss Dispensary Conditional Retailer

40 1565 Remedy Oil Conditional Retailer

41 2384 Shelly’s Smoke Shop LLC Conditional Retailer

42 2839 Spark 9 LLC Conditional Retailer

43 2387 The Green Zone US LLC Conditional Retailer

44 2834 The Vault Conditional Retailer

45 2965 Urban Goods LLC Conditional Retailer

46 2900 Urth Company LLC Conditional Retailer

47 2889 Verde Life LLC Conditional Retailer

48 1716 West Orange Farms Conditional Retailer

49 2493 Atlantic Cannabis LLC Conditional Retailer

50 2807 Exotic Leaf LLC Conditional Retailer

51 2660 Fu Mei Farms Corporation Conditional Retailer

52 2906 Gas Station 415 LLC Conditional Retailer

53 2883 Green Flora Conditional Retailer

54 2881 Green Mint Emporium Conditional Retailer

55 2821 Joint Senses LLC Conditional Retailer

56 2722 KGM Jersey Jane, LLC Conditional Retailer

57 2918 Klub CaniVibe LLC Conditional Retailer

58 2963 Lady Bud Cannabis Dispensary LLC Conditional Retailer

59 2823 Living Well Botanicals Conditional Retailer

60 2814 Medisin Conditional Retailer

61 2868 Motherland Cannabis Company LLC Conditional Retailer

62 1761 Mr. Nice Guys AC, LLC Conditional Retailer

63 2705 Paradise Cannabis Dispensary LLC Conditional Retailer

64 2777 Pigment Retail Company LLC Conditional Retailer

65 2905 Sugie’s LLC Conditional Retailer

66 2803 The Dispensary Spot LLC Conditional Retailer

67 2481 The Greenhouse Dispensary LLC Conditional Retailer

68 2931 Urban Crops Conditional Retailer

69 2554 Urban Leaf Dispensaries Conditional Retailer

70 2728 THCBD, LLC Conditional Cultivator

71 2729 THCBD, LLC Conditional Manufacturer

The NJCRC approved the first 69 5-0.

Houenou was recused over the last two, so she didn’t vote. Recusals are usually done to prevent conflicts of interest. They were approved 4-0.

Conditional License Conversion to Annual NJ Cannabis License Winners

Anderson explained the converted annual New Jersey cannabis license winners included 13 Social Equity businesses and 16 diversely owned businesses.

“We want to ensure applications are consistent. A title might have assumed responsibilities. But you might list yourself as maybe a passive investor or something else that has no control. That discrepancy delays your application,” Commissioner Krista Nash said. “Investigations does a really good job looking at other sources of information.”

“The majority of listed proposed awardees do not reflect those most harmed by the drug war,” Commissioner Charles Barker argued.

The following New Jersey conditional license winners won conversion to annual licenses:

1 2364 Fu Mei Farms Corporation Annual Cultivator

2 2389 Power Grow, LLC Annual Cultivator

3 2466 Prolific Growhouse Annual Cultivator

4 2436 Creative Flavors by Esther LLC Annual Cultivator

5 2354 GRC NJ LLC Annual Cultivator

6 2549 Grotech Farms, LLC Annual Cultivator

7 2446 Premium Genetics Partners LLC Annual Cultivator

8 2394 Vidu Brothers Cannabis Inc Annual Cultivator

9 2670 Lily Extracts Annual Manufacturer

10 2351 Power Grow, LLC Annual Manufacturer

11 2577 Canna P Farms Annual Manufacturer

12 2397 Greater Purpose Annual Manufacturer

13 2599 Herb-a-More LLC Annual Manufacturer

14 2512 Jersey Smooth, LLC Annual Manufacturer

15 2763 Sussex Cultivation LLC Annual Manufacturer

More Winners

16 2393 Vidu Brothers Cannabis Inc Annual Manufacturer

17 2437 A21 Health & Wellness LLC Annual Retailer

18 2534 Baked by the River Annual Retailer

19 2602 Bakin’ Bad LLC Annual Retailer

20 2564 Daylite Cannabis LLC Annual Retailer

21 2475 Garden Greenz Annual Retailer

22 2479 Jersey Leaf, LLC Annual Retailer

23 2468 Noire Dispensary Annual Retailer

24 2424 Strictly CBD LLC Annual Retailer

25 2616 Treehouse Ventures Annual Retailer

26 2480 Canna Remedies LLC Annual Retailer

27 2533 Cottonmouth Dispensary LLC Annual Retailer

28 2472 Decades Dispensary, LLC Annual Retailer

29 2474 The Jersey Joint, Inc. Annual Retailer

The NJCRC approved them 5-0.

Annual NJ Cannabis License Winners

Anderson said all five annual New Jersey Cannabis License winners are Diversly Owned businesses.

1 1007 INSA II Annual Cultivator

2 2001 Luxxe Green Annual Cultivator

3 2221 OTC Jersey Annual Retailer

4 1681 Plant Base LLC Annual Retailer

5 2427 Tambre, LLC Annual Retailer

The NJCRC approved them 5-0.

A separate vote was taken on:

6 1299 GSCC Management LLC Annual Manufacturer

Nash was recused from them “due to a prior working relationship.”

The NJCRC approved them 3-1, with Barker voting no.

NJ Cannabis Licenses for Delivery, Wholesale, Distribution Portal Opening

Anderson explained the portal for New Jersey cannabis licenses for Delivery, Wholesale, and Distribution would open on September 27th. They want to prioritize Social Equity applicants only for the first 90 days. Then for the second 90 days, they would only accept Social Equity and Diversly owned applicants. Other applications would be automatically rejected.

“A rejection is not a denial,” she said.

Anderson noted they have no control over the town approval process.

Prioritizing Social Equity Issues

“I want to move to amend this motion, this resolution to expand the exclusivity period… to one year, “Barker said.

He also only wanted Social Equity applicants to win all three licenses for a year.

Barker didn’t seem to understand exclusivity would not give them the business savvy, money, land, or political clout needed to open. Capital remains a problem though there are solutions. The NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is working on it. But their solution won’t cover most.

The fight for real estate and local approval is not for the weak-hearted.

“I would vote yes on your amendment. After 180 days, we review the process. Are you amenable to the process?” Vice Chair Sam Delgado asked.

“Yes,” Barker said.

Commissioner Maria Del Cid argued diversly owned businesses should also be recognized and prioritized.

Debating Social Equity Assistance

“It seems like diversly owned businesses that move through the process don’t even have a connection to the failed War on Drugs. But because they’re diversely owned, they’re ahead of and moving through the process quicker than others,” Barker argued.

“There’s a reason there are businesses designated at diversly owned businesses. Social Equity is an official designation. Most of the individuals that quality as minority-owned businesses… are not the same thing,” Houenou said.

Barker said some could be both and argued the merits of his amendment. He interrupted Houenou.

“Commissioner Barker, I’m not debating with you,” she declared. “Social Equity business and Diversely owned businesses are not the same.”

Houenou noted the Social Equity business class has income limits, and Diversly owned businesses must be certified by the NJ Treasury Department.

“I apologize,” Barker said. “Social Equity businesses reflect those most harmed.”

“If you’re a minority-owned business, you deserve to be recognized,” Houenou said. “The statute (cannabis legalization law) has given us targets to promote inclusion in this industry.”

“It’s slightly naïve. There are a lot of factors out of our control,” Anderson said about Barker’s idea that Social Equity applicants merely need more prioritization.

She noted the issues with money and real estate.

The amendment and full resolution both passed 4-0-1, with Del Cid abstaining.

Vacating Awards for 3 of Harmony’s Dispensary Adult Use Cannabis Licenses

“The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved Harmony for four adult use cannabis business licenses awards on December 2, 2022,” Houenou noted.

They have a dispensary in Secaucus, two manufacturing facilities in Secaucus and Lafayette, and one growing facility in Secaucus.

She said they were supposed to pay $800,000 for the four adult-use cannabis licenses.

They are also supposed to open medical cannabis dispensaries in Jersey City and Hoboken.

“By February 2023, no fee payment had been accepted,” Houenou said.

The payment for the dispensary was submitted shortly after they were notified of the lateness. But no additional payments for the other licenses were made. So they’re being revoked.  

“Harmony would still be considered an expanded ATC with respect to its retail operation,” she said.

Houenou said they could re-apply for adult-use growing and manufacturing licenses.

More licensed New Jersey cannabis growers are needed. There is a very limited selection despite more dispensaries opening.

“Why were they even awarded in the first place, the retail? I’m trying to understand the fairness of this,” Barker said.

Houenou said they received four licenses. But only the adult-use sales dispensary license fee was paid. The remaining fee for the 3 New Jersey cannabis licenses is $700,000.

The NJCRC approved it 5-0.

Expanded Alternative Treatment Center Adult-use Cannabis Sales Approval

NJ Jersey Leaf in Freehold Boro and MPX in Gloucester Township were permitted to sell New Jersey adult-use cannabis.

The NJCRC approved them both 4-1, with Barker voting no twice.

Annual Recreational Adult Use New Jersey Cannabis License Renewals

Anderson noted the many requirements for renewal. Ascend NJ and its Montclair location was up for review.

The NJCRC approved them 4-1, with Barker voting no.

Ayr Wellness was next.

“They were eager to meet after the last meeting,” NJCRC Director of Diversity and Inclusion Wesley McWhite III said.

He noted their Social Equity plan of working to help employ people and hold expungement clinics.

“I look forward to working with them in the future,” WM added.

Their three dispensary locations are in Woodbridge, Eatontown, and Union Township. Their manufacturing facility is in South Brunswick.

Ayr’s representative explained their Social Equity efforts working with the UFCW union. They explained their budget for working with different local partners, including backing a minority-owned New Jersey cannabis company.

An Ayr representative said the company “The Library of New Jersey” received $600,000 to open their business.

“Are their plans to continue that funding for equitable businesses?” Barker asked.

“We’re happy to expand this,” the Ayr representative said.

“In terms of your patient wait times, what are those looking like?” Del Cid asked.

Julie Winter of Ayr said it’s between 10 and 15 minutes.

“We’ve had patients who have um uh filed a complaint and we have responded to those,” she added. “A patient may see an adult-use customer going forward and they have an issue. We have our pharmacist personally reach out.”

“Thank you,” Del Cid said.

The NJCRC approved them 5-0.

New Jersey Cannabis Adult Use Dispensary Sales Renewed

Anderson explained TerrAscend NJ was up for approval of its New Jersey adult use cannabis license at their Lodi location in Bergen County. She noted there are no issues with their Social Equity compliance.

“I look at the labor peace in totality. I’m going to abstain. I’m going to see how labor peace issues are progressing,” Nash said.

The NJCRC approved them 4-1-1, with Barker voting no and Nash abstaining.

Verano NJ and New Jersey adult use cannabis sales in their Neptune location in Monmouth County were renewed.

The NJCRC approved them 4-1, with Barker voting no.

The New Jersey cannabis testing labs Trichome Analytical in Mount Laurel and Green Analytics in Hamilton were reviewed for license renewal.

The NJCRC approved them 4-1, with Barker voting no.

New Jersey Cannabis Licensing Process

“We have received over 1900 applications,” Anderson said. “Three hundred applications to convent condition licenses have been submitted.”

She said wants to see more from Diversity-owned and Social Equity companies.

However, capital remains a problem though there are solutions. The NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is working on it. But their solution won’t cover most. The fight for real estate and local approval is not for the weak-hearted.

New Jersey Cannabis Applications Diversity Review

McWhite noted the survey of racial self-identified statistics thus far.

“We have seen increases across the board for Black, Asian and Hispanic, and Latino majority entity leadership,” he said.

McWhite explained some are owned by multiple minorities and women.

He said 5.7 percent of cannabis companies nationally are Hispanic-owned.

“We are beating that number,” McWhite said. “4.3 percent identify as Black. We are beating that number.

He noted 21 percent identify as minority-owned businesses, and women-owned are at 23 percent. Minority and women businesses make up 16 percent of applicants.

“The Commission continues to meet its statutory benchmark for diversly owned businesses. 67 percent of our businesses… are minority-owned, women-owned. That is a major milestone,” McWhite declared.

There is a lot of talk among New Jersey cannabis license seekers that many companies have token minorities and women on the paperwork for prioritization.

McWhite said 729 New Jersey cannabis licenses have been issued to minority, women, and disabled veteran-owned businesses.

He noted the NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) training program and the NJ EDA access to capital program would launch soon.

“They are interested in planning for more financial products,” McWhite said.

“It wasn’t that long ago when we had um next to no disabled veteran-owned businesses. I’m really encouraged to see a jump there,” Houenou said.

Conditional Licensing Extension Issues

Del Cid explained the New Jersey cannabis conditional license extension process.

“We have issued 185 conditional extensions. We are continuing to see the same reasons they’re asking for extensions. That is for local approvals, the real estate, site control… and lastly access to capital,” she noted.

215 extensions were issued last month, Del Cid said.

“We have shifted to a new process. Some applicants submit more information than others. We wanted to make this process more standard. We ask that applicants submit it 15 days before their deadline. There are no exceptions to that. It’s an easy form to complete,” she noted.

Without extensions, the awards of conditional New Jersey cannabis licenses expire.

Cannabis Consumer Education Campaign

Barker explained that he is working with Nash to provide education on cannabis consumption to the public to begin in late summer 2023.

“Education is critical tool in our efforts to properly inform people about cannabis and destigmatize medicine,” he said.

Anderson then explained they want to launch a “Safe Use Campaign” about cannabis consumption. Princeton Partners won the contract. It passed 5-0.

Disconnect Between CRC & Cannabis Industry

The NJCRC held their meeting during the first day of the Cannabis World Congress (CWC) Expo. While it does take place during New York City, many New Jersey cannabis professionals and entrepreneurs regularly attend. NJCRC Executive Director Jeff Brown spoke there in 2019 regarding the medical cannabis program.

The NJCRC actually held their meeting last September during the NECANN cannabis conference in Atlantic City.

It’s a reflection one way or another of their fundamental separation and disconnection from the cannabis industry which they seek to govern.

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