New Jersey Lifts Cannabis Cultivation Cap, Allows for Vertical Integration

New Jersey’s cap on cannabis cultivation licenses will expire on Feb. 22 following a recommendation from the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC).

CRC regulations currently allow for a maximum of 37 cultivation licenses in New Jersey, and only 17 cultivations are currently licensed and operational in the state.

However, the CRC’s Permitting and License Committee suggested during a Feb. 8 public meeting that the current cap be allowed to expire on Feb. 22, the date previously noted in legislation.

“The market is developing, and we don’t want to hinder that. The New Jersey canopy is currently only 418,000 square feet – far below the average of other states with legal cannabis,” said Commissioner Maria Del Cid-Kosso, who sits on the state’s Permitting and Licensing Committee. “New Jersey currently has only one cultivator license for every 197,000 residents. The national average is one license for every 31,000 residents. We have a lot of room to grow. We expect that lifting the cap will open the space for more cultivators, ultimately resulting in more favorable pricing and better access for patients and other consumers.”

In addition, the CRC will allow the state’s prohibition on certain vertically integrated business to expire on Feb. 22. After that date, cannabis license holders in New Jersey will be able to simultaneously possess up to one license in each of cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and delivery – and in any combination. Wholesale license holders may also hold a distributor license, according to CRC, and expanded Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) may hold licenses in cultivation, manufacturing, retail and delivery.

The CRC, in the same meeting, also approved an amendment to prioritize reviewing Diversely-Owned Businesses, Impact Zone, and Social Equity applications. This amendment also applies to annual and conversion licenses, allowing for these applications to be fast-tracked during the application review process, according to the CRC.

“The change in priority order ensures that annual license applications from priority designated businesses are promptly reviewed and approved, and that the priority designation applies for all stages and application categories,” said Commission Chairwoman Dianna Houenou. “The change should help those businesses get up and running in time to boost competition in the industry.”

New Jersey launched its recreational cannabis market on Apr. 21, 2022, following voters’ approval of Question 1 to legalize cannabis during the November 2020 elections.

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Zach Mentz

Zach Mentz is an editor at Flavor Fix, covering cannabis, CBD and alcohol news and featured stories. Previously, he worked as senior editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT). Mentz is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University.

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