The Jersey City Council discussed the cannabis licensing process during their caucus meeting in preparation for a special Planning Board meeting next week.
Twenty-five cannabis license applicants are set to be endorsed by the City Council in a resolution so they can apply to open an adult-use dispensary with the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC). The state portal to apply for a cannabis dispensary license opened last Tuesday. These companies are likely seeking annual or regular licenses versus conditional licenses.
Council President Joyce Watterman said the list was incomplete, and more license applicants need to be added.
“How did folks get on the list?” Ward E Councilman James Solomon asked.
It was noted by a Law Department official that the Division of Commerce sent applications to the Law Department.
“I don’t know what we’re telling applicants. If you want a letter, an offer, or action of local support, what are you supposed to do? I don’t think all the applicants are aware of that,” Solomon said. “I don’t know anything about these applicants.”
He noted they want the businesses to be socially conscious, hire locally, and be community-oriented.
“It’s new for all of us,” Watterman said. “I know people have called me. Aren’t they supposed to come back to us? This is a resolution they need to submit with the state, and we just give them some type of temporary approval. Conditional approval, that’s the word, correct?”
Conditional cannabis license applicants can apply for a license from the state without having obtained a city council resolution endorsement. Once approved by the state, they must secure municipal approval.
“The board is the one that’s supposed to really oversee these apps to see they’re complying and giving back to the community in some way. That’s why I think we need the board’s approval and then to us,” Watterman said. “It seems like it would work that way.”
Jersey City has set up a Cannabis Control Board to review cannabis license applications.
Watterman noted certain building projects needed to be approved by the Planning Board before the council approves them.
“The council trusts and knows it’s vetted. And because Planning vetted, it goes back to us,” she said.
“Can we get something in writing from Commerce (Department) explaining what the process is? Also, if there were people, I guess who applied and didn’t make the list, who they were and why didn’t they?” Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley asked.
It was explained by a Law Department official the applicants are seeking to apply soon since the portal opened.
“Is this something the state would like to see?” Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore said. “It’s essentially saying that these entities were vetted and will provide community good.”
“There’s a lot of moving pieces, and I think we all understand parts of them but not all of them,” Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey said.
She noted the applications are seeking approval before the Planning Board. Prinz-Arey asked for an outline of the cannabis licensing process.
“We don’t know what we’re voting on. Maybe we should pull it. We don’t understand the process,” Watterman said. “Can we withdraw this?”
Business Administrator John Metro did not want a delay to impact business owners negatively and said he would provide clarification on the process.
“We don’t want to hold any applicants hostage, so to speak,” Metro said.
“I don’t even know the addresses for these different retailers. If we had more information, the comm benefits, the ownership, that would really help our decision. They should also speak in front of the council,” Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh said.
“I don’t want to go that far,” Watterman said.
“Could you see if delaying this would negatively impact their application with the state?” Saleh asked.
Watterman said the Cannabis Control Board should review applications before applicants seek a resolution from the council.
“Once we understand the process, we’ll know what to do. It’s not holding up nothing because the state just released the application March 15th. We’re in good timing. I guarantee you Jersey City will be ahead of everyone,” she said.
Saleh said they want to see conditional license applicants succeed. He noted the need for cannabis company applicants to become familiar with the Councilperson that represents the neighborhood in which they seek to have a business.
Jersey City Cannabis
Jersey City passed an ordinance last summer allowing many dispensaries and cannabis lounges.
The following companies wish to be licensed dispensaries in Jersey City:
- Blossom Dispensary, LLC
- Cannaboutique by Greenhouse, LLC
- Chilltown Dispensary, LLC
- Retailer City Farm, LLC
- Community Wellness Center of NJ, LLC
- Decades Dispensary, LLC
- Etain NJ
- Garden Greenz, LLC
- Golden Door Dispensary, LLC
- Golden State Green, LLC
- Green Flaming Dispensary, LLC
- Greenlight Holistic, LLC
- Happy Cloud, Inc.
- Jersey Leaf, LLC
- Idyllx, LLC
- Local Modiv, LLC
- Medusa NJ, LLC Class
- MMD NJ, Incorporated
- Oceanfront Holdings, LLC
- Retailer Perennial Group Corporation
- Strictly CBD, LLC
- Surterra Wellness
- The Cannabis Place 420 Corp.
- The Leaf Joint, LLC
- WR Wellness, LLC