New Jersey: CRC Builds the Application Infrastructure.

As was discussed in detail during Foley Hoag’s recent New Jersey webinar, the adult-use regulations released by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“CRC”) contain several unanswered questions. For instance, when will the CRC begin accepting applications (they have already missed the statutory deadline)? How will applicants navigate the complexity of the local municipal approval process amidst towns seesawing between opt-ins and opt-outs? What is the significance of the different entities and types of licenses outlined in the regulations and the priority, preference, and incentives associated with each?

“A red pushpin on a map pointing to Trenton, New Jersey.”

The good news is that the CRC has seemingly recognized that the 160+ pages of regulations do not necessarily speak for themselves, and, as such, has scheduled an educational meeting on September 28, 2021 (“Meeting”) in the hopes of providing additional clarity. Specifically, the topics to be covered at the Meeting will include:

  • Explanation of the initial rules:
    • Equity Provisions.
    • Safety Provisions.
    • General Guidance for Municipalities.
    • Overview of Available Licenses.
  • Basic application requirements (including emphasizing the differences between conditional and annual licenses and reference to forthcoming notice of application acceptance), including:
    • Overview of Social Equity Businesses, Diversely Owned Businesses, Impact Zone Businesses.
    • Monitoring Changes in Municipal Approaches.
  • What businesses can do to prepare for applying (e.g., business registration, DOB certifications).
  • Expectations for CRC background investigations.
  • Management Services Agreements and FSAs 101 & Protections and Red Flags.
  • Expectations for neighborhoods with cannabis businesses (e.g., odor, facility security, etc.).
  • What is next.
    • Notice of application acceptance.
    • Pre-application info session/webinar.

As the preceding makes clear, the CRC is committed to getting the ball rolling on the implementation of adult-use. For instance, the last meeting on September 14, 2021 saw the CRC pass Resolution 2021-14, which approved NICUSA, Inc., to provide self-funded licensing and permitting software, something which the Executive Director made clear was a critical first step in developing the application infrastructure. The Meeting, in turn, is a critical second step, and one which is anticipated to clarify additional regulatory nuance, and prepare the public at large for the long anticipated first adult use application round.

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