New Jersey’s preliminary guidelines for grownup marijuana use give small companies an edge

New Jersey regulators on Wednesday took a major step towards developing a multi-billion dollar recreational marijuana market, announcing an initial set of rules that prioritize local and minority business owners.

This could help allay concerns, NJ.com reported that most of the state’s 12 existing medical marijuana operators are owned by extra-state interests.

The evolution of regulations means the state is now on a 180-day clock to start adult sales, according to NJ.com, which means sales would start by February 2022, if not sooner.

But it is likely that these first sales will be made by existing MMJ operators.

New Jersey cannabis attorney Rob DiPisa of Cole Schotz gave regulators high marks on their “Commitment to Legislative Timeline,” which called for regulations to be developed by August 21.

Because of this, DiPisa said, “We may see adult sales in New Jersey faster than expected.”

“However,” he added, “we need to keep in mind that the Cannabis Regulatory Commission has made it clear that existing operators must demonstrate that the state meets the needs of existing patients before we enter an adult market.”

Advances in New Jersey could also put additional pressure on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to quickly develop a recreational marijuana program that is already facing long delays.

The first rules for recreational cannabis in New Jersey, according to NJ.com, include:

  • Licensing is a priority for women, minorities, disabled veterans, social justice companies, and those in “areas of influence” or areas disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
  • A separate encouragement for micro businesses. These companies, which are defined as 10 or fewer employees, do not count towards the license ceilings set by the Commission. However, the companies must be wholly New Jersey-owned.
  • A limit of 37 breeders who must be licensed before February 2023. The Commission has not imposed any restrictions on other types of licenses.

The next big date for adult use in New Jersey is August 21, the deadline for de-registration by the community. It was recently revealed that around half could ban adult marijuana stores.

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