It’s a cannabis renaissance in New Jersey! The Garden State is one of the latest to join the legalization party of marijuana around the United States.
Legal dispensaries opened on April 21st, 2022, making New Jersey the 19th state to officially legalize recreational marijuana. With just 12 dispensaries open as of now, customers are lining up in droves to get their hands on the first legal recreational marijuana in New Jersey.
We’ve outlined some of the most important laws following the legalization of New Jersey cannabis so we can all better understand the process of opening a dispensary, the state’s innovative new tax setup, and everything about New Jersey cannabis.
The Legalization Process
New Jersey was the 19th state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana within its borders. This change came to fruition when Governor Phil Murphy approved three bills to change the marijuana landscape in New Jersey on February 22, 2021. This came after an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents voted for its legalization in November 2020. These new bills were built into two ‘tiers’ according to the New Jersey government.
The first tier is ‘regulated cannabis’, which is cannabis that is purchased through state-backed dispensaries which abide by the laws set for them by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulation Commission (CRC).
The second tier falls under ‘marijuana and hash’. This tier presents all cannabis, including hashish, that's purchased or obtained outside of state-backed institutions. Although technically against the law, the majority of these forms of cannabis have been decriminalized. They are described as “controlled dangerous substances.”
Although legal statewide, municipalities decide where and whether cannabis can be sold in their jurisdiction. All dispensaries must be provided licenses by the CRC, which has gone on record to state they will follow all municipality's jurisdiction rulings.
New Jersey Cannabis Laws
Who can legally sell cannabis in New Jersey?
Businesses that have been granted a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license by the CRC are permitted to sell cannabis within New Jersey state lines. Several different licenses are instrumental in the curation and production of cannabis besides just the Class 5 license.
What cannabis licenses are available within New Jersey?
There are a total of 7 different licenses that are available within New Jersey at the time of writing. The CREAMM act introduced the ‘6 Class’ licenses that are paramount to the cannabis industry within New Jersey. These include:
- Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator: This permits the growth of recreational use of cannabis
- Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer: This permits the production of recreational use cannabis
- Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler: This permits the storage and sale of recreational use cannabis to other cultivators, retailers, or wholesalers.
- Class 4 Cannabis Distributor: This permits the distribution of cannabis in bulk to cultivators, producers, and retailers who in turn will sell the transferred product WITHIN the state of New Jersey.
- Class 5 Cannabis Retailer: This permits the purchase of recreational use cannabis from licensed cultivators, producers, and wholesalers to be sold to consumers via their retail storefront.
- Class 6 Cannabis Delivery: This permits the transport of a consumer’s recreational cannabis and paraphernalia from the retailer to the consumer.
- Conditional License: Which is granted to businesses and individuals that are working towards meeting the requirements for any of the licenses listed before.
Can I apply for cannabis licenses in New Jersey now?
As of April 2022, the CRC is accepting four types of cannabis license applications. These include Class 1 Cannabis Cultivators, Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturers, Class 5 Cannabis Retailers, and Testing Laboratories. However, there is a long line of businesses waiting to be accepted, so it may take some time to hear back from the CRC.
What are the requirements for the application to receive a cannabis license?
These requirements stand for any type of cannabis license within New Jersey. The requirements listed below have been copied directly from the CRC website.
- Completion of the application found on the CRC website with all relevant information.
- Personal History Disclosure for all persons of interest
- Entity Disclosure Forms for the license applicant entity and any entities of interest on the application
- Signed affidavits, releases, and waivers completed by an individual authorized to sign on behalf of the license applicant
- Social Equity Business attestation, if seeking to apply as a Social Equity Business
- Payment of all fees correlating with the application process
Granted licenses face annual renewal each year. There is an assortment of fees through both the application process and licensing process. You can view all fees that correlate with these processes on the CRC official fee schedule.
How long does the conditional license last in New Jersey?
Upon receiving a conditional cannabis license, you may hold it for 120 days before expiration. Conditional licenses cannot be renewed but may be extended for “good cause” according to the CRC website.
How many cannabis business licenses are available in New Jersey?
As of April 2022, there is no limit to the number of cannabis retail licenses. However, according to statute, there can only be 37 Class 1 Cultivator licenses in the state at one time. 30% of these licenses are reserved for women, minorities, and disabled veterans, along with another 10% dedicated to New Jersey resident-owned microbusinesses.
Can I pursue a cannabis license if my municipality prohibits cannabis?
You cannot pursue a cannabis license if your municipality outright prohibits cannabis. The CRC will reject your application following the municipality’s ruling. However, some municipalities have certain limits where you can work alongside their ruling to pursue a license.
What are the Packaging Requirements for Cannabis in New Jersey?
There are many requirements for the packaging of cannabis within New Jersey, including:
- The name, address, license number, and telephone number of the cultivator and manufacturer must be included on the packaging
- Net weight and amount of cannabis
- Production or harvest date of the cannabis
- The expiration date of the cannabis
- The serial or batch number of the cannabis
- A list of any other ingredients included in the cannabis
- A list of allergens contained within the cannabis
- Whether the cannabis must be refrigerated
- Serving size and the total amount of servings and THC amount in percentage or milligrams per serving
- The cannabis strain's name
- The growth method of the cannabis A clear indicator of the ratio of THC & CBD chemotypes
- Summary of the testing of the cannabis
- Directions on how to ingest cannabis
- Requirements for storage
How much cannabis can a customer purchase at one time in New Jersey?
Customers can purchase up to 1oz. of flower, 5g of concentrates, and 1,000mg of edibles at one time.
How many dispensaries are there in New Jersey?
As of the time of legalization, there are 12 dispensaries, all formerly medicinal marijuana dispensaries.
How does New Jersey tax its cannabis to consumers?
New Jersey’s cannabis tax is the first of its kind in the United States. It changes each year depending on the retail prices of the proceeding year. A flat 6.625 percent sales tax is applied on all cannabis purchases. However, New Jersey has innovated with a weight-based excise tax that will begin phasing in with a 33 percent tax on the average retail value of an ounce for the first 9 months of legalization. Afterward, it will be split into the following levels:
- $10 per ounce if the average retail price per ounce is above $350
- $30 per ounce if the average retail price per ounce is between $250 and $350
- $40 per ounce if the average retail price per ounce is between $200 and $250
- $60 per ounce if the average retail price per ounce is below $200
Cannabis Companies in New Jersey
There are only 12 dispensaries currently open in New Jersey. Of the 12, these three have made the biggest splash so far.
Originally the most popular medical cannabis dispensary in New Jersey, Curaleaf NJ has leaped forward since the legalization of medical use. Curaleaf continues to grow with several locations including Bellmawr, Borden Town, and Edgewater Park. Most popular for their CBD products, they also offer an array of THC products including flower, edibles, tinctures, and concentrates.
Rise is one of the most popular of the 12 current dispensaries in New Jersey due to its stellar customer service and wide selection of cannabis products. They serve both medically and recreationally. They have installed a new loyalty program that has received rave reviews and keeps customers coming back to their shop.
Located in Rochelle Park, Ascend is a multi-state cannabis store that serves both medical patients and recreational use customers. Originally named Greenleaf Compassion Center, they were renamed following the legalization of recreational weed in New Jersey. With innovative web design and cultivation strategies, Ascend is solidifying itself as a major player out of the 12 dispensaries within New Jersey.
Being the 19th state to legalize marijuana, New Jersey residents are clamoring at the bit for their first legal recreational marijuana. The 12 dispensaries that are open are reaping the benefits as hundreds of individuals are applying to open in the coming years.
The state has changed the game with its new excise tax, making the Garden State an attractive location for prospective cannabis brands. As the legalization process continues, the market is opening many new job opportunities, as well as opening safe, tested cannabis to the general public for the first time.
New Jersey is still in its infancy in terms of its legal cannabis lifespan. Laws are due to change as the state tries to find its footing in this new landscape. In the past we have seen states change laws as they attempt to become accustomed to the recreational cannabis landscape. Due to this, it is important to familiarize ourselves with the laws, so that we can all enjoy our cannabis safely.
What do you think of the new cannabis tax in New Jersey? Do you want your state to adopt a similar tax?