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New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission explains how cannabis licensing process will work

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission explains how cannabis licensing process will work

The new jersey cannabis regulatory commission explained the licensing process

The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will begin accepting applications for recreational cannabis businesses beginning on Dec. 15.

At today’s New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City, the chair and executive director of the CRC  discussed application and licensing rules and processes, including the types of businesses that will initially receive priority review of applications.

Before a packed conference room at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Dianna Houenou, CRC chair, said two types of recreational cannabis licenses will be given: conditional and annual. 

“The annual license is the bread and butter of what we typically think of when someone is applying for a license. It gives business owners the authority to operate the cannabis operation year round,” Houenou said.

The newer conditional license delivers more of a provisional approval from the CRC. This is a license the commission can issue to applicants even if they haven’t identified a property and still have to work with a municipality in order to get necessary approvals and processes in place.

“The conditional license is meant to give applicants extra time to get all of their ducks in a row. … They then have 120 days to meet the additional requirements for the annual license,” Houenou commented.

Whether conditional or annual, the types of cannabis licenses are classified into six operational groups: cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail and delivery services. Additionally, testing labs also have to be licensed by the CRC.

Within these groups, businesses can have additional designations, which are more of a description of ownership and size of operations. 

According to Houenou, they are: microbusinesses (smaller operations, constrained by statute with respect to size, the amount of products handled, and the number of employees); social equity businesses (owned by people who have lived in economically disadvantaged areas or who have past convictions for cannabis offenses); diversely-owned businesses (minority-owned, woman-owned, or disabled veteran-owned businesses certified by the New Jersey Department of Treasury); and impact zone businesses (municipalities with a large population, high unemployment rate, or high numbers of crime or arrests for marijuana). 

The CRC will be giving priority review to conditional applications as well as social equity businesses, diverse and impact zone businesses.

Houenou explains: “If you look across the country, historically you can see how the need for property control has posed a barrier for a number of applicants looking to operate [a cannabis] business. … We decided to lessen that burden as much as we could. So, we are prioritizing conditional license applications ahead of annual license applications.”

According to Jeff Brown, CRC executive director, the commission is not limiting the licenses it is granting at the state level, although it has the authority to do so. For now, he says, the goal is to let the market grow and develop.

West Virginia opening first medical cannabis dispensary

West Virginia opening first medical cannabis dispensary

West Virginia medical cannabis dispensary opening

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s first medical cannabis dispensary is opening more than four years after state lawmakers allowed a regulatory system for those products to be established.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. is set to debut a retail location in Morgantown on Friday with a second shop opening in Weston next Monday.

“We’re thrilled to be first to market in West Virginia and to continue building the foundation for the West Virginia’s emerging medical cannabis market,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said in a statement.

She said the company’s goal is to “bolster local economies by creating sustainable jobs and investing in marginalized communities.”

The 2017 state law allows for medical cannabis use in pills, oils, topical gels, liquids, dermal patches and a form that can be vaporized.

In order to access and buy products from a dispensary, residents must have a West Virginia medical marijuana card. Residents with serious medical conditions can register for the card at www.medcanwv.org.

New Jersey to Begin Accepting Cannabis Business License Applications in December

New Jersey to Begin Accepting Cannabis Business License Applications in December

New Jersey cannabis business applications will begin December 15

After missing a September deadline to begin licensing recreational cannabis businesses in New Jersey, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission has announced it will begin accepting application on December 15, 2021. However these applications will only be available to growers, processors and testing labs.

Applications for dispensaries will not be available until March 15, 2022. The New Jersey cannabis legalization law originally mandated legal sales begin by mid-February 2022, or six months after the commission adopted its initial rules.

However due to the past delays, the likelihood of cannabis businesses being up and operational by February 2022 is low. The Commission however has said that during the time that they delayed the application process, they created a way to better process applications, implicating the process could move more quickly than initially expected.

New Jersey currently has medical cannabis dispensaries across the state, which is the only legal way to obtain cannabis currently and requires a patient card to purchase cannabis. The state has recently issued 14 new medical dispensary licenses, however these stores must be in operation for one year before they can apply to also sell recreational cannabis.

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission is concerned that due to their delays, there won’t be sufficient supply of cannabis for recreational sales come February. However, already established dispensaries will have the option to apply for recreational sales, and many owners of these businesses say they are ready for recreational sales now with plenty of cannabis in stock.

The New Jersey cannabis legalization bill also allows for delivery, distributors and wholesalers in the recreational cannabis industry. However the Commission has yet to establish the rules for guiding these license types, and a date to begin applications has not been set.

When applications for businesses begin, women-, veteran- or minority-owned businesses will have priority. If an applicant has been arrested for marijuana or lives in a municipality with disproportionate rates of marijuana arrests or is economically disadvantaged, they too have priority. Additionally the rules allow priority for micro-businesses, or those with 10 employees or less.

The Commission will hold an informational webinar on November 30 for those who want to apply for licenses. The Commission has also heard comments on labeling for cannabis products, as well as invited testimony regarding cannabis edibles.

Delta 8 THC Banned in New York

Delta 8 THC Banned in New York

Delta 8 THC banned in New York by cannabis control board

Rules to allow for delta-8 THC could come in the “future,” but in the meantime, those for CBD in food and beverages have been finalized.

Delta-8 THC was front and center during the latest meeting of New York’s cannabis regulators, as officials work to stand up what will be one of the world’s biggest cannabis markets.

The state’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) met on Wednesday, for the third time, to approve Cannabinoid Hemp regulations presented by the Office of Cannabis Management. The package of rules will now regulate hemp products, including CBD products, by creating “clear” guidelines for what kinds of products and activities are allowed, and which ones aren’t, “to help foster the development of a robust cannabinoid hemp industry.”

The rules also seek to enhance consumer protection and quality control through testing and labeling, and to “enforce against” products that don’t meet the bar and those that are explicitly banned.

“Delta-8, similar to delta-9 THC, is psychoactive, has psychoactive properties, particularly when synthesized through the processing process. Because of that, we’ve decided to hold off on including the regulations for those products in this package and that will be addressed in the future adult use packages,” Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), within which the Board sits, said during a question and answer portion of the meeting, when asked specifically where delta-8 rules stood.

The regulations do, however, allow for cannabinoids, like CBD, to be added to foods and beverages, if they meet the state’s standards, which will require that each product be made using Good Manufacturing Practices. Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 45, which will now allow hemp-derived CBD (or other cannabinoids) in supplements, foods, drinks, cosmetics, and pet food.

“I’m pleased that we will be advancing the cannabinoid hemp program today, just as we have done with the expansion of the medical marijuana program at prior meetings,” Tremaine Wright, chair of the Board, said at the start of the meeting. (As Cannabis Wire recently reported, the Board has already moved to allow for medical cannabis shops to sell flower products, which several have started to do, and released rules for patients to home grow.)

Board member Jen Metzger gave an overview of the hemp program in New York. In 2015, the Department of Agriculture and Markets launched the state’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program. Metzger said this program “exploded” after it launched, with 800 farmers registered to grow, most for cannabidiol (CBD).

When the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act passed in March, legalizing cannabis for adult use, the Cannabinoid Hemp Program was transitioned under the umbrella of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

New York Will Not Issue Adult-Use Licenses Until 2023

New York Will Not Issue Adult-Use Licenses Until 2023

New York recreational cannabis licenses delayed until 2023

The head of New York’s Cannabis Control Board said last week she does not anticipate the state will begin issuing industry licenses until the spring of 2023 at the earliest.

The head of New York’s Cannabis Control Board said last week that she does not anticipate the state will begin issuing industry licenses until the spring of 2023 at the earliest, WXXI News reports. Tremaine Wright’s comments came during a cannabis conference at Comedy at the Carlson in Rochester.

“What we do control is getting (dispensaries) licensing and giving them all the tools so they can work within our systems. That’s what we are saying will be achieved in 18 months. Not that they’re open, not that they’ll be full-blown operations, because we don’t know that.” — Wright via WXXI

The state’s legalization law included a launch date of April 1, 2022, at the earliest and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) only appointed members to the Cannabis Control Board in September. Hochul was not governor when lawmakers passed the broad legalization bill last March; she would replace Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August following his resignation over sexual misconduct allegations.

During the board’s meeting in late October, Wright declared the practice of “gifting” cannabis including it with the purchase of another, often overpriced product — illegal and that violations could be met with “severe financial penalties.”

While state regulators have been slow to get the cannabis licensing process underway, adult-use cannabis sales have already commenced under the jurisdiction of several New York tribes, including the St. Regis Mohawks.

bill has also been introduced that would allow licensed cannabis cultivators to start growing their crops prior to the launch of the formal program, creating provisional licenses that would allow businesses to operate if the Office of Cannabis Management doesn’t propagate program rules by January 1. That bill remains in the Senate Rules Committee.

Washington DC grey market could be going away

Washington DC grey market could be going away

Washington DC cannabis delivery

Update 11/2/21: The provision to crack down on the grey market in DC was removed prior to voting on the overall bill on November 2, 2021.

Despite legalizing cannabis in 2014, Washington DC has yet to see a single legal sale of recreational cannabis. But that doesn’t mean the cannabis industry in DC isn’t thriving.

However that could all be changing after the DC Council will vote on a new measure on November 2, 2021.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many Washington DC medical cannabis patients had their medical cards expire due to lack of government services. Patients must register through the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) because there is no cannabis specific regulatory agency.

Under the current law, those seeking medical marijuana have to first get approval from medical practitioners registered with the ABRA, some of whom charge up to $200 a visit. To try and resolve the issue, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson introduced an emergency bill that aims to allow qualifying patients and caregivers whose registration cards expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2022 to continue purchasing, possessing and administering cannabis until Jan. 31, 2022.

However the emergency bill includes other measures that would severely cripple if not crumble entirely the grey market cannabis industry that is currently thriving in Washington DC. The same bill that aims to help medical cannabis patients also would enable city agencies and law enforcement to impose fines, revoke licenses, and shut the doors of non-authorized businesses engaging in buying, selling, or otherwise “exchanging” marijuana to its customers.

The Washington DC Grey Market

To understand the potential impact of this bill, it is important to understand how the “cannabis industry” operates in Washington DC. Despite legalizing recreational cannabis possession, cultivation and use in 2014, there is a rider put into the original bill preventing any funds from being spent on the establishment of a legal cannabis industry.

Because of this rider, known as the Harris Rider, there is no regulatory agency or current architecture for a recreational cannabis industry in DC. This hasn’t stopped the people of DC from starting their own underground “legal” cannabis industry that has grown exponentially since its inception.

Known as a “grey market” because it operates in a loophole of the current law, the cannabis industry in Washington DC operates entirely different from any other legal cannabis industry in the country. Here’s how it works:

  1. A customer enters a smoke shop, hydroponic store, or finds an online delivery service
  2. The customer must “donate” a certain fee for a product (i.e. $45 donation for a T-shirt)
  3. The customer then receives a “gift” in the form of cannabis products (i.e. cartridge, flower, edibles)

It is that simple, but can be easier said than done in an underground industry that is entirely unregulated. This can lead customers to pay higher prices for smaller quantities of cannabis, with no way to judge the quality for themselves prior to purchase, mainly in the case of delivery services.

If Mendelson’s bill passes however, the entire grey market could be shut down in a matter of months. But if the 2022 Budget Proposal passes in its current state, it may not be all bad news.

Removing the Harris Rider

Although President Joe Biden does not support broad cannabis legalization on the federal level and left the Harris Rider in his 2022 Budget Proposal, legislators had a different idea. After the House of Representatives removed the Harris Rider in June 2021 passing it on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy passed the bill through with more additions, but notably kept the Harris Rider out.

The slightly modified legislation also contains several other cannabis provisions, including a request to continue an existing protection for state medical marijuana laws, a call on the federal government to reconsider policies that fire employees for cannabis, criticism of the restrictive drug classification system that impedes scientific research and encouragement to develop technologies to detect THC-impaired driving.

If the 2022 Budget Proposal passes in its current state, the recreational cannabis industry would no longer be prohibited in Washington DC. In other words, the grey market would no longer be necessary. But in the case of Washington DC having a functional legal cannabis industry in 2022, that’s a big “IF”.