Several medical cannabis business licenses will be awarded on Oct. 15, putting an end to a two-year ordeal that without litigation would have likely taken a handful of months.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission will announce the awardees for cannabis grow operations and for vertically integrated businesses at its public meeting at 1 p.m. Friday.
The 2019 Request for Applications drew nearly 200 applications between July 15 and Aug. 22, 2019 before several applicants alleged that a technical glitch within the new Jersey Department of Health’s portal caused them to be disqualified. After a lengthy court-ordered stay on the evaluation process and an eventual affirmation of those disqualifications by the court in February 2021—and several changes in the state’s cannabis business landscape, including the legalization of adult-use cannabis and the change in hands of the cannabis program from the DOH to the CRC—24 cannabis business licenses lay in waiting to be utilized.
Chair Dianna Houenou announced at her NJ Cannabis Insider event keynote on Sept. 23 that the CRC was closing in on completion of 2019 award evaluations, and she shared some insight as to why the process had taken so long.
“Even after litigation came to a close in 2021, it was still under the Department of Health, and this department was still on the frontlines of responding to the COVID pandemic,” Houenou said. “Applications had to switch hands from the Department of Health, where there was only one commissioner, to the CRC where there are five commissioners, each of whom had to be briefed [on the status of the evaluations].”
At the time, scoring for cultivation applicants for the 2019 RFA was about 99% complete and for dispensary applicants was about 75% complete, Houenou shared.
More than 117,000 medical cannabis patients are registered in New Jersey, tens of thousands more than when licenses were last issued in December 2018. Since then, several cannabis businesses have opened, including flagship and satellite locations by the recipients of the 2018 awards and the state’s original six operators.
1 of 1 article
0 articles remaining
Advance your business edge with news from NJBiz. Register now for more article access.