NEW JERSEY — Six months after Gov. Phil Murphy made the sale of cannabis for recreational use legal in New Jersey, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission unveiled its first set of rules for how the industry will run.
Equity and safety are at the forefront for the commission. During a virtual public hearing Thursday, the commission set out the guidelines as more than 1,000 viewers logged on.
The commission revealed rules that favor micro businesses — which have 10 or fewer employees — where they will only be responsible for 50 percent of licensing fees.
Among those who get priority in obtaining a license are applicants with past cannabis-related criminal offenses or those who lived in an economically disadvantaged area.
“In an effort to really make up for past harms that have occurred in cannabis prohibition, we want to prioritize the people who have shouldered those burdens,” explained Jeff Brown, executive director of NJCRC.
Also, a criminal conviction will not necessarily make an applicant ineligible, the rules stated.
As of now, roughly one third of the state’s 565 municipalities have opted in to take part in the market. Among the biggest cities on board are Jersey City, Newark and Elizabeth.
The regulations roll out now gives the green light to entrepreneurs, including Alexandria Alcala, who will be applying for a class 5 retail license to open up a dispensary retail shop in downtown Jersey City.
“I do expect our local leadership and our advocates – I hope we could all come together,” Alcala told PIX11. “And find a middle ground where they just do the right thing by the communities that been impacted adversely by cannabis specifically.”
Now that the regulations have been set, the panel will soon decide when sales can start in New Jersey.
As per state guidelines, it must pick a date that falls within 180 days of Aug. 19.
Learn more about the NJCRC regulations on cannabis sales here.