New Jersey begins accepting recreational cannabis license applications: When will dispensaries open?


Source: Wikimedia Commons

New Jersey voters legalized recreational marijuana in the November 2020 election. The law allows New Jersey residents over the age of 21 to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at a time (registered patients for medical marijuana can buy and possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis every 30 days) and allows them to transport it freely. . Now, a year after voters agreed to shake things up, the state begins licensing. This is good news for cannabis users in Jersey, the law does not allow people to grow their own cannabis plants at home.

Legal roadmap for cannabis in New Jersey

As of December 15, 2021, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will review license applications so people can grow, manufacture and test marijuana. CRC reports that nearly 500 commercial accounts for license applications were created within the first 3 hours of accepting applications.

“And they haven’t stopped coming in,” CRC said on Facebook. “An exciting time for CRC and for potential cannabis entrepreneurs across the state.”

When things are up and running, the state of New Jersey expects to see a billion dollar market. Sales of recreational marijuana will be taxed by the state at 7%, and localities have the option of including their own sales tax of 2% or less. There could also be social equity excise duties that would apply to growers of marijuana whose profits could fluctuate based on the average retail price of the cannabis they grow.

Breakdown in tax dollars

Proceeds from the social equity excise duty and 70% sales tax will go to programs targeting communities affected by the war on drugs.

“Our current marijuana ban laws have failed all social justice tests, which is why for years I have strongly supported the legalization of cannabis for adult use. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands of people of color disproportionately to be arrested each year in New Jersey for minor drug offenses is unjust and untenable, ”said the Governor of New Jersey. Jersey, Phil Murphy, in a press release. “In November, New Jersey residents voted overwhelmingly to create a well-regulated adult cannabis market. While this process has taken longer than expected, I believe it ends in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model. “

Image of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in blue suit crossing his arms.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has maintained a pro-cannabis approach throughout his tenure. Source:

Medical marijuana patients have a lower tax rate, so out-of-state people who are registered there can apply for a temporary registration in New Jersey to take advantage of a lower tax rate, as well as access to a larger amount per purchase. and guaranteed supply.

When will recreational marijuana dispensaries open in New Jersey?

Unfortunately, the application process did not go particularly well and the opening times are somewhat obscure. People wishing to apply for licenses contacted CRC via Twitter to complain about the systems crash.

“Have your systems crashed? ” a Twitter user named Luis Urueta asked. “I have not yet received my verification email to be able to submit. The next day, he added to his tweet at CRC, “Still pending.”

“Unfortunately, the application system doesn’t work for everyone and tech support isn’t responding. Hoping that the second day of the deployment of the application is fairer than the first day so that all those who wish to apply can do so ”, wrote a user named Sun Extractions on Twitter. This user describes himself as “reliable, consistent, high-quality cannabis extracts” that the poster says will soon be arriving in the Garden State.

“24 hours later and still no verification email sent. Helpdesk is no help. Network card helpdesk is no help either,” wrote a user named Slim Waters. “No response from anyone.”

The state could also see supply problems. Currently, there are only 13 dispensaries that sell medical marijuana and only 12 vertical MMJ licenses in New Jersey. These operators can sell recreational marijuana, but they still have to meet the demand of their medical market. Some of these operators are expanding their grow operations to try to keep pace.

Abundance of applications

The Garden State government is authorizing additional MMJ licenses, but litigation has suspended approval of them.

Currently, there is no limit on the number of applications that will be made available to cannabis companies as a whole, and there is no deadline for license applications. There is a limit for growers, however. These licenses, known as Class 1, are held at 37 in total until February 22, 2023, when more could be added if necessary. Individual municipalities can decide how many businesses are allowed to allow in the city, but they cannot ban delivery services in the area or ban marijuana in any way if they don’t want it in their area. .

30% of all licenses must be awarded to businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans.

Image of a person sitting at a desk with several sheets of paper in front of them and a pen in their right hand.

There has been a large influx of recreational cannabis license applications, making it difficult for the state to sort them out in a timely manner. Source:

When choosing who will get a license, priority is given to areas that the state considers to have been negatively affected by the war on drugs or by unemployment and poverty. CRC aims to give 25% of all licenses to applicants who fall into this category, or to those who ensure that 25% or more of their employees come from those regions.

From there, the priority goes to people who have lived in New Jersey for 5 years or more and have at least 5% investment interest in something in New Jersey.

Types of recreational cannabis licenses available

Applications for Class V retailers can be submitted from March 15, 2022. The tasks of the people applying for each license are as follows:

  • Class 1: Cultivator
    • Growing recreational cannabis
  • Class 2: Manufacturer
    • Producing recreational cannabis
  • Class 3: Wholesaler
    • Store, sell or transfer recreational cannabis items between cannabis growers, wholesalers or retailers
  • Class 4: Distributor
    • Transport cannabis items in bulk between cannabis growers, manufacturers or retailers in the State of New Jersey
  • Class 5: Retailer
    • Buy recreational cannabis from licensed growers, manufacturers or wholesalers and sell these items to consumers at a retail store
  • Class 6: Delivery
    • Transporting a consumer’s purchases of recreational cannabis and related supplies from the retailer to that consumer
  • Conditional license
    • Begin to develop operations for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, wholesale, distribution or delivery of recreational cannabis while working to meet the requirements of a cannabis grower, manufacturer, d ” a dispensary, wholesaler, distributor or delivery license

Despite the turmoil that followed the start of the licensing process, there is still no specific date for the start of recreational sales in the Garden State. In September, Gov. Phil Murphy told News 12 New Jersey he expected to see sales, “in the first or second quarter of a medical dispensary, then a little behind those of a stand-alone retail store. “. For now, this timeline still seems possible.


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