The Cannabis Regulatory Commission of New Jersey (CRC) provided a final overview of the regulations and requirements associated for a recreation cannabis license on October 13, 2021 which coordinated with topics by the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) informative presentation on October 28, 2021 anticipating the imminent acceptance of applications. As the date by which the CRC will accept applications becomes imminent, many issues must be addressed before a potential licensee can submit an application. Most particularly, establishing a corporate entity and registering it as a minority owned business must be completed prior to filing the application. The certification of a minority owned business usually takes about 90 days from the date of submission. In reviewing the CRC regulations, the advantages of a minority owned business in obtaining approval of a cannabis license increases the importance of this certification as part of the cannabis license application.
Upon establishment of the corporate entity, decisions can be made regarding acquisition of “conditional licenses” which allow a much faster route to getting a business open. In addition, the acquisition of a “microbusiness license” provides a plan to establish a business however there are various limitations associated with this type of business entity, and numerous requirements to obtain and maintain this “status” which have been elucidated for these types of businesses in the regulations.
The main issues which continue to be at the core of an application are (1) municipal approval, (2) real estate/zoning issues and (3) management and financial services agreements. Though an appreciation and detailed understanding of these issues must be achieved through continued review and a pragmatic approach, timing to implement these aspects is immediate as applications will be reviewed on a “first come first reviewed basis”. Recognizing the importance of an organized, timely and detailed oriented appreciation of the many rules, in addition to the guiding social principles core to the legislation for legalized cannabis, is crucial to obtaining a license and the commercial success of licensees.
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