New Jersey Receives 170-Plus Cannabis Applications Within Hours

There was no shortage of interest for participating in New Jersey’s forthcoming adult-use cannabis retail market when state regulators began accepting a second round of applications earlier this week.

The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) opened the dispensary license application process for Class 5 retailers at 9 a.m. March 15. By 4 p.m. that day, the commission had received 172 applications, reported.

According to CRC’s website, Class 5 license types authorize retailers to purchase adult-use cannabis from licensed cultivators, manufacturers or wholesalers, and to sell those items to consumers in a retail store.

The license applications for Class 5 retailers will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until indicated otherwise, according to CRC.

“Social equity businesses, diversely-owned businesses, impact zone businesses, and applications that receive bonus points will be afforded priority review, scoring, and approval,” the website states.

In addition, CRC has not established a limit on the number of cannabis business licenses available statewide. However, under current law, the number of adult-use cultivator licenses is limited to 37 until Feb. 22, 2023.

The application process for those licenses began in December, but CRC officials missed a deadline to finish reviewing the licenses by March 15, leaving established medical cannabis dispensaries, hoping to transition to the adult-use market, unsure about future supply avenues to meet an increased demand.

RELATED: New Jersey Misses Deadline to Review Cultivation Applications

With the first wave of adult-use applicants having time to familiarize themselves with the application process during the past three months, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said the commission saw a smoother process when it opened the portal to potential retailers on March 15.

“Since the portal opened in December, potential cannabis entrepreneurs have been establishing accounts and beginning the application process, so we did not see the flurry of new accounts being set up today as we did on Dec. 15,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “What we saw were applicants who were already familiar with the system and ready to apply.”

The commission’s review, scoring and approval will also prioritize conditional license applications over annual license applications, as well as microbusiness applications over standard business applications in every category, according to CRC.

Currently, there is no deadline for license application submissions. In the event the commission decides to stop accepting application submissions, CRC officials will give at least a 30-day notice before the close date for any license class.