NJ Recreational Cannabis Laws offer business opportunities


Friday February 26, 2021

On February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a series of bills legalizing adult recreational cannabis, decriminalizing the possession and use of cannabis, and reducing or eliminating penalties for possession and use of underage cannabis ( Collectively, the “Cannabis Legislation”). Taken together, these bills will create a recreational cannabis marketplace in New Jersey unparalleled in the Northeast.

The 3 cannabis bills issued are:

  • The New Jersey, New Jersey, Cannabis Regulation, Enforcement, and Enforcement Act, Bill No. 21 (A21), hereinafter referred to as the “Adult Use Act,” which allows consumers 21 and older to use cannabis products to buy for personal use from licensed retail companies;

  • A bill that provides reforms to the criminal and civil justice system, Bill No. 1897 (A1897), hereinafter referred to as the “Decriminalization Bill,” specifically by decriminalizing possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis or up to 170 grams of hashish and raises awareness of the availability of deletion relief; and

  • A Clean-Up Bill, Bill No. 5342 (A5342), which clarifies the penalties for using and possessing cannabis and hashish for those under the age of 21. In particular, the Clean-Up Bill corrects the contradicting language in the Adult-Use Act and the Decriminalization Act by removing the clauses on disorderly persons in the Adult-Use Act and establishing a three-tier warning system for the possession or use of cannabis items by minors possession or consumption of underage alcohol.

The cannabis landscape in New Jersey has changed dramatically, and cannabis legislation gives countless companies the opportunity to participate in the New Jersey cannabis industry. This customer alert will focus on the impact of cannabis legislation on companies and individuals keen to enter the emerging adult recreational cannabis market in New Jersey, as well as companies currently operating an Alternative Medical Treatment Center (ATC) under approval Granted under the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program. We want to address further aspects of cannabis legislation in separate communications.

A summary of key aspects of the Adult Use Act, including the adult cannabis licensing process, the role and powers of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“Commission”), the creation of areas of cannabis use, taxation issues, and the prioritization granted to certain individuals Applications and applicants based on diversity and inclusion factors can be found here.

Due to the overwhelming approval of New Jersey voters in November 2020, the New Jersey Constitution was amended effective January 1, 2021 to legalize the possession and use of recreational cannabis by adults. In practice, however, not much has changed as cannabis legislation was only recently enacted and pharmacies have not yet been licensed to sell adult cannabis in New Jersey. Therefore, the only legal means of buying cannabis is still through the use of a medical marijuana card. Before cannabis becomes legally available to adults, there are a few important steps that must be taken, such as: B. the appointment of all members of the commission (completed on 25 February 2021) and the development of rules regulating the consumption of adult cannabis industry and the commission that oversees the licensing process and the review of license applications. This can take the rest of the year or more. On the positive side, one or more of the existing vertically integrated medical ATCs (and possibly ATC applicants who have been given permission to open vertically integrated medical ATCs that have not yet been opened) may be used by adults Licensing and starting retail operations before adult-only retail stores go online. Once open for business, state-licensed adult cannabis retail stores can sell up to one ounce of cannabis per adult customer, and individual adults can legally own up to 6 ounces.

We will continue to monitor the Commission as it prepares for the start of the adult cannabis program in New Jersey and will provide further developments as necessary. In the meantime, if you have any questions about an issue raised in this customer notice, please contact the author or attorney of the law firm with which you are in regular contact.

© Copyright 2020 Cummis & Gross PC SillsNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 57