Since the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) announced the winners of 14 cultivation and four vertically integrated medical marijuana licenses, great changes are coming to New Jersey cannabis.
“The current alternative treatment centers have not kept pace with patient need,” said CRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou. “We constantly hear from patients that prices are too high. And that there are too few dispensaries with too few product options.
While home delivery implementation by the dispensaries remains delayed, “the situation has not changed with the legalization of recreational cannabis. Our priority is to our patients. And increasing the planned number of medicinal cannabis operators in the market will greatly benefit them,” Houenou said.
“We know how anticipated these final actions were. We are happy they are now completed,” said CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown. “The awardees can now continue with the process to establish their operations. This can only be a good thing for cannabis patients and New Jersey’s fledgling cannabis industry.”
New Cannabis Cultivation Operators
Of the ten cultivation permits approved, three are in North Jersey, five are in Central Jersey, and two are in South Jersey. They could potentially add 235,000 sq. ft. of the canopy to the market. The four vertically integrated awards (for businesses doing cultivation, manufacturing, and retail) could add another 120,000 sq. ft. of cannabis canopy and an additional four retail locations.
According to a report from the CRC, for the approximately 121,000 patients in the medical program, 61 dispensaries and 26 cultivators are needed. In reality, 23 dispensary locations are being operated by ten license holders that also engage in cultivation.
There were previously 12 license vertically integrated holders. The license holder Justice Gown’s main dispensary in Ewing should be operational this fall. In contrast, the cannabis corporation Multi-State Operator (MSO) MPX, which won a license to operate in Atlantic City, is mired in problems. They were bought by the larger MSO iAnthus, which is suffering from an ongoing scandal regarding its leadership.
Unfortunately, it might be some time until the doors are open on the new facilities. It might take at least a year to open any of the new locations, if not longer.
The CRC, which inherited the 2019 debacle, now only has half an albatross around their neck. The dispensary applicant winners have yet to be announced. No date was given when that would occur.
The 2019 Medical Marijuana Licenses Winners
“This is an exciting day, both for the awardees and for progress in the cannabis space. Congratulations to all those who have been awarded licenses. The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association is here to support and assist them in establishing their business or helping them reach a conclusion that is best for them,” New Jersey CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Ed DeVeaux said.
DeVeaux noted that while Brown said all the companies that won licenses were run by women or People of Color, that does not seem to be the case since at least one seems wholly owned by white men.
“I certainly hope there is representation in this last round that women and People of Color are included,” he said. “It doesn’t give the optimism that I had when the ed was saying that the winners
“The CRC’s action today moves us one step closer to issuing applications for the first round of adult-use licenses in New Jersey. Like many, we await that day with eager anticipation and look forward to helping future adult-use license holders as well,” DeVeaux added.
“We do have to start somewhere,” he said. “For that, we’re grateful.”
He said he was not familiar with the companies that won overall.
Hillview applied in 2018 and won 2019. They hold a hemp farming license as well. ZY Labs was the only cannabis company to make progress from the lawsuit that held up the process and subsequently win an award. They approved to cultivate in Hillside, NJ in Union County. They applied in 2018 for a license as well.
Most of the companies that won licenses from the 2019 round had also applied in 2018.