New Jersey sent out updated information for the state’s medical cannabis market; there are 125,674 patients in the program, along with 5,038 caregivers and 1,461 doctors certified to recommend medical cannabis.
To get a better idea of what is going on in the adult use market, which opened in April 2022, Cannabis Benchmarks spoke with Jeff Brown, Executive Director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). Brown explained the program is just a few months old and that vertically integrated Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) that populated the medical market were initially licensed in the adult use program. He said, “eight or nine are up and running” and they have 16 retail sites approved, not all of which are operational.
When asked about licensing outside of the existing body of operators from the medical cannabis program, Brown said the state has issued 300 conditional adult use licenses, “many of which will convert to annual licenses.” To obtain an annual license, conditional licensees must secure real estate and municipal approval. The CRC grants five-and-a-half months to obtain business real estate and municipal approval, as well as a 45-day extension if a licensee requests it. Brown says the CRC has now automatically granted the additional 45 days to conditional licensees because the Commission understands the particular issues with obtaining real estate commitments in the state – it is very expensive – and township approvals.
Brown noted a fairly blistering pace of conditional license approvals. He said the CRC “is issuing 50 to 100 conditional licenses” at every monthly meeting. Additionally, the pace of Social Equity “licensing is under 90 days” after the application is submitted.
Brown is keenly aware that “access to capital is a big issue.” He pointed out that Governor Phil Murphy just approved allowing “state and local economic development agencies and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority” to aid new cannabis businesses.
When asked about adult use retail sales figures, Brown said the CRC plans on issuing quarterly cannabis sales and tax numbers, but did not reveal when the first set of data will be publicly available. However, Brown noted that the quarterly adult use reports may be similar to the state’s medical cannabis reports, a copy of which can be found here.
Brown noted, “we’re only in the first quarter” – figuratively and actually – but he is “confident New Jersey can be the premier cannabis market on the East Coast.” He said “the best thing we can do is be sure we serve consumers” and that the New Jersey cannabis market will be “built on the bedrock of consumers.”
In other developments in the state, Marijuana Moment reports the New Jersey State Senate President filed a bill this week to set down the conditions under which New Jersey would engage in interstate cannabis commerce. Much like California’s interstate trade proposal, states seeking to engage in interstate cannabis commerce with New Jersey must have legal adult use cannabis and must adhere to New Jersey’s standards or higher regarding licensing and transportation, including the prohibition of moving cannabis products through states that do not have legal cannabis. The article notes the interstate commerce bill will only go into effect if the federal prohibition on cannabis is lifted or if the Department of Justice issues guidance allowing interstate commerce.