New Jersey Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS NEW JERSEY'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
New Jersey’s current Medical Marijuana Program only consists of nine dispensaries owned by seven companies with a collective 69,560 patients. The State expects to need an additional 90 more dispensaries by 2022 as stated in the Department of Health Division of Medical Marijuana Biennial Report (published 4/1/19).
Although medical cannabis business applications were accepted until August 2019, the awarding of licenses was paused due to a court order resulted after the state denied some applicants on technical issues. A glitch preventing the Department of Health from opening submitted files affected as many as two dozen rejected applicants. The Department of Health was planning on awarding eight Alternative Treatment Centers in the northern region of the state, eight in the central region, seven in the southern region, and one ‘at-large’ to be determined during the award process. Ideally, the department would like to award up to five cultivation licenses, 15 dispensary licenses and four vertically integrated licenses.
Cannabis market growth in New Jersey has surely been affected by the legal battles holding up at least 24 licenses in court challenges. However, the medical market still reached between $95 - $120 million in 2019, a significant increase over the $30 million purchased in 2018.
WHAT ARE NEW JERSEY'S CANNABIS LAWS?
On his final day in office, January 18, 2010, Governor Corzine signed into law multiple bills including the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act legalizing the use of medical cannabis for patients with qualified conditions. The law allows patients to purchase and possess cannabis from licensed facilities, but does not allow home growing. The New Jersey Health Department was tasked with creating the laws and regulations for Title 8 Chapter 64. Medical Marijuana.
On June 2019, Jakes Law was signed into law by Governor Murphy bringing greater reforms to New Jersey’s medical cannabis industry. The list of qualifying conditions was expanded to include chronic pain, and anti-descrimination protections to ensure patients are not subject to conflicts related to education, rental housing, professional licensing, or employment. The bill was named after seven-year-old Jake Honig who was given medical cannabis by his parents to ease the pain of brain cancer.
New Jersey has multiple cannabis reforms on the horizon. On December 16, 2019 New Jersey Senate and Assembly approved a November 2020 ballot initiative to decide on adult-use, recreational cannabis legalization. If passed, not only would recreational cannabis be legalized, the state would be limited to taxing retail cannabis sales to the state’s current 6.625% sales tax rate. A recent poll showed that 61% of New Jersey voters would approve the initiative. On December 16, 2019, Governor Murphy signed into law a 'clean slate bill', which provides residents expungement of previous cannabis convictions.
On June 18, 2020, lawmakers in New Jersey voted on a bill that would decriminalize possession of up to two ounces. A second bill was introduced in the weeks prior, which would decriminalize up to one pound of weed. Both bills will need to pass the Assembly and the Senate before being signed into law by Governor Murphy.
WHAT IS NEW JERSEY'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
Medical applications are not being accepted at this time. Point7 will provide an update if and when applications are being accepted.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN NEW JERSEY?
On January 18th, 2010 medical cannabis was legalized in New Jersey when Governor Corzine signed into law S. 119, commonly referred to as the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The city of Montclair was the first in the state to have an operating dispensary, which opened in December 2012. In 2013, medical cannabis became available for children who were sick with parental consent, when the parents of a two-year-old with Dravet’s Syndrome approached Governor Christie and convinced him to sign a new bill into law. The move came with negative feedback and was dubbed the ‘pot for tots’ controversy. Due to the limited list of qualifying conditions, New Jersey's medical cannabis market has grown at a slower rate than other states. In 2015, three years after operations began, only 5,540 residents had registered as medical cannabis patients with the number only rising to 40,000 by 2019.
Another impediment to market growth has been a pricing surge. A two ounce purchase per month equates to an estimated $12,000 per year, an incredibly steep price for medicine.
In 2018, Governor Murphy promised to legalize recreational cannabis within the first 100 days he was in office. However, his effort was halted when he and Senator Sweeney were unable to convince a majority of senators to support the legislation. Recently, a cannabis referendum passed in both houses with an Assembly vote of 49-24 and a Senate vote of 24-16, so New Jersey voters will have an opportunity to decide on cannabis legalization for themselves in November 2020.
DOES NEW JERSEY HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE NEW JERSEY CANNABIS MARKET?
Legalization is likely to happen in 2020 based on a recent poll showing 61% of New Jersey voters support legalization. With this in mind, it is never too early to begin developing a cannabis business plan and strategy. Contact Point7 today to discuss our products and service packages available to make the application process and post licensure operations seamless.