The NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) approved adult-use sales of cannabis at seven Alternative Treatments Centers (ATCs) and 34 new adult-use growing and manufacturing licenses.
Certifications of ATCs for Adult-use Sales
Curaleaf, Columbia Care, Acreage, Verano, GTI Rise, Ascend Wellness, and Terrascend’s Apothecarium were approved for adult-use sales of cannabis.
Ayr’s Garden State Dispensary, Harmony, and Breakwater were not approved. Thus, all the approved companies are cannabis corporations that are Multi-State Operators (MSOs).
“We’ve hit several milestones, and they’ve all been critical to getting to this point,” NJCRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said. “The CRC has worked with the ATCs to implement safeguards to ensure minimum supply for patients for packaged and bulk products.”
The ATCs had to prove they had sufficient patient supply and inventory, plans for Social Equity and safety, and an agreement allowing a legit union to organize workers. All were needed for adult-use sales approval.
Brown said they had to ensure they had a plan for Social Equity and safety. He noted the NJCRC assessed inventory and the number of patients to ensure continued supply for patients.
“All the ATCs…. have shown… that they can meet those safeguards,” he noted.
Brown noted the canopy of growing plants has grown by 80,000 ft in recent months, and the amount of cannabis available in the market has grown.
“We are seeing consistent more economically priced products,” he said.
Each dispensary selling adult-use cannabis must have 14 exclusive patient hours a week. There will be exclusive Point of Sales (POS) lines for them. Patients can also reserve products online too. In addition, they can access a hotline with a person available to help them access a dispensary. The NJCRC also requires patient outreach to keep them informed.
An Acreage representative noted they would have 14 hours of exclusive patient time spread over multiple days at different times.
“We’ll evaluate that as we continue,” he said.
They will be reserved medical patient parking in Egg Harbor and Williamstown along with separate lines for medical cannabis patients and a dedicated POS system. There will be a separate menu system. They will set a threshold so a strain will disappear from the adult-use menu first. In addition, they’ll continue to allow online ordering for medical patients only. Curbside pickup will remain available. They will be communicating their plans via a pre-recorded webinar that will be available on their site.
Curaleaf Vice President Matt Darin said they invested sufficiently to take care of patients.
“The transitional to adult-use will not alter our commitment to our patients,” he said.
Darin repeated much of what the Acreage representative said. He did note they will hold a town hall on April 18th. He insisted they have enough cannabis.
Volley Hayhurst of Columbia Care repeated much of what the other two said. In addition, they will implement a waitlist for adult-use sales of cannabis where people would have to sign up to buy products.
Executive Vice President of Verano NJ James Leventis repeated much of the same. In addition, he said they are launching their home delivery program this week on Wednesday exclusively for patients.
Home delivery to patients is a long-delayed feature of the Jake Honig Act of 2019, which expanded the medical cannabis program.
Dina Rollman of GTI said they have several times more the necessary amount of cannabis the NJCRC said was needed. While their Paramus location will remain medical only, Bloomfield and Paterson will offer adult-use sales. Rollman also promised home delivery for patients.
Mike Conway of Ascend Wellness said they’d have three exclusive patient registers and lines.
He also said patients could order cannabis up to two days in advance. Conway also promised home delivery in Bergen and Passaic Counties, but not Essex.
Chantelle Elsner of TerrAscend said 63 percent of their workers are Black or Hispanic. She said they’d work with newly licensed businesses and promised to be involved in the community in a charitable fashion.
Elsner also promised home delivery “soon” and encouraged people to download their app.
Brown noted that NJCRC staff has inspected the dispensaries recently to ensure they are ready for adult-use sales. Part of this readiness included a Social Equity and Safety Plans. He defined “Social Equity” counted as hiring minorities, people from Impact Zones and Economic Developing Areas (EDAs), helping felons with expungement clinics, job training, and “pathways to employment.”
Partnering with non-profit organizations and community organizations, giving to charities also counted, and working with Social Equity and diversely owned businesses did as well.
“I was certainly impressed with what I saw,” Brown said regarding their Social Equity efforts.
Post-award conditions include access for patients, ensuring adequate supply, accountability for Social Equity, and protecting cannabis worker rights via a Labor Peace Agreement.
ATCs could be fined $10,000 a day and have their adult-use license, if they do not comply.
They will need to work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to ensure their Social Equity compliance.
“We do not see any market-wide concerns with moving these ATCs forward,” Brown said.
ATC expansion fees near $1 million need to be paid. Their compliance needs to be ensured. Brown did not offer a definite timeline for the forthcoming steps.
“It doesn’t have to be 30 days,” he said.
“I was pleased that most of them recognized the legislative intent and submitted meaningful Labor Peace Agreements,” Commissioner Krista Nash said.
“Some of the ATCs have decided to take this seriously,” NJCRC Chair Diana Houenou said. “At the last public meeting, staff would have to do a little extra hand-holding.”
“I do expect to see long lines and heavy traffic,” she added.
“It is critical that we ensure that both medical and adult-use cannabis are in supply and affordable for New Jerseyans. We look forward to continuing our work with the CRC on that process and eagerly anticipate the next round of progress for New Jersey, ” NJ CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Edmund DeVeaux.
34 New Cultivation and Manufacturing Licenses Awarded
The NJCRC also awarded 34 new adult-use cultivation and manufacturing licenses. The 34 licenses include 20 cultivation and 14 manufacturing adult-use sales licenses. It included a mix of micro and standard license applications. They were all conditional licenses.
“All 34 applications before the comm have received full pts for those measures,” Brown said about applications
Their applications were reviewed, including a review of financial sources and management agreements, to ensure they can hold a conditional license.
The NJCRC understands there will be applicants looking to exploit loopholes in those documents.
The list of winners is as follows:
- T-Verde LLC- Cultivator
- ACTF NJ LLC-Cultivator
- Franklingrow Inc- Cultivator
- Hudson Bloom LLC- Cultivator
- Sussex Cultivator LLC- Cultivator
- Fire Gardens LLC- Cultivator
- Premium Genetic Partners LLC- Cultivator
- Amor Herbal Farms- Cultivator
- Waves of Green – Cultivator
- Arise Cannabis NJ- Cultivator
- Savage Garden- Cultivator
- Green Lift- Cultivator
- Audacious NJ- Cultivator
- Creative Flavors by Esther- Cultivator
- Violet Genetics- Cultivator
- D&M 2018- Cultivator
- Pigment Holdings- Cultivator
- Pure Cultivations- Cultivator
- Parks Grove- Cultivator
- Green Thumb Growing Company- Cultivator
- T-Verde- Manufacturer
- TGC New Jersey- Manufacturer
- Amor Herbal Manufacturing- Manufacturer
- Trenton Equity Holdings-Manufacturer
- Good Growth NB- Manufacturer
- Audacious NJ- Manufacturer
- Jersey Gem Farms- Manufacturer
- Power Grow- Manufacturer
- ATCF NJ- Manufacturer
- Green Alchemy- Manufacturer
- Bellegrow- Manufacturer
- Garden State Green Genetics- Manufacturer
- Leif Enterprises- Manufacturer
- Pigment Holdings- Manufacturer
They unanimously approved the motion to approve the 34 conditional licenses. The NJCRC is giving conditional awardees five and a half months to submit conversion applications.
Brown noted thus far, 732 applications, with 251 for cultivation, 135 for manufacturing licensing, and 327 adult-use dispensaries, were submitted. In addition, five applications for testing labs are under review.
“Tomorrow makes the CRC’s first birthday. In just one year, the CRC has done tremendous work to exp the med prog and adopt rec regulations for the industry,” Houenou said.
She explained they have been building a brand-new state agency from the ground up. Houenou noted they went from a staff of five commissioners and Brown to a staff of 52.
They are in the process of developing a source for resources, workforce training, and a way for businesses to access capital.
“I want to thank the blood, sweat, and tears poured into this effort,” Houenou said.
“The Commission has now issued over 100 license approvals, and we’re not even a year old yet,” Brown said.
“There is unmet demand with this market. We need new businesses to keep applying,” Brown said. “We need new entrepreneurs to keep coming into this market.
There are now 132 adult-use and 56 medical cannabis license holders in New Jersey for a total of 188.