New Jersey Enacts Bill Permitting NJEDA to Make Financial Incentives Available to Certain Cannabis Businesses

The continuing federal prohibition of marijuana has made cannabis entrepreneurs in New Jersey rely on personal funds or private financing to get their projects up and running.  This has put up a significant barrier to entry into the market for many license applicants. In effort to free up financing while various bills continue to be introduced at the federal level, Governor Murphy signed bill S2945 on June 30, 2022, enacted as P.L.2022, c.48., which permits the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to extend financial incentives to certain cannabis businesses as detailed below. 

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Bringing it all Back Home: Cannabis and Zoning

Source: The New Jersey Law Journal

I. Introduction

New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market is finally here and in full swing.  As the market continues to grow, cannabis license applicants must consider how zoning will impact their contemplated business operations in any given New Jersey municipality.  In short, although a license may permit you to operate a cannabis business, zoning will dictate where, when, and “how” – – that is, what conditions are attached to your operation.

To aid applicants in the real estate and zoning component of their businesses and cannabis license applications, this article broadly details the relevant zoning provisions of the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA or the Act) and New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law, the primary zoning legislation in New Jersey, together with issues that both applicant and lawyer alike should consider when applying to a land use board to obtain approval.

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New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Sets Licensing Application Dates for Cannabis Businesses

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission recently announced their application process for prospective cannabis businesses, including the dates the Commission will begin accepting applications for growers, processors, testing labs and dispensaries.

The Commission will begin accepting applications for personal use (recreational) cannabis businesses on December 15, 2021 for Class 1 Cultivator Licenses, Class 2 Manufacturer Licenses and Testing Laboratories. Applications will begin to be accepted for Class 5 Retails (Dispensaries) on March 15, 2022.  Licensing applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with no deadline set to file. In addition, there is no limit on the number of cannabis business licenses that will be made available. However, the number of Cultivator licenses will be held to 37 until February 22, 2023.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules that Employees can be Reimbursed for Medical Marijuana Expenses

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued a significant decision in the area of cannabis law.  In Hager v MK Construction, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed that medical cannabis prescriptions are lawful under workers compensation, but that buries the lede.  The real impact of Hager is that the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed for the first time the friction between federal and New Jersey state cannabis law.   

The employer in this case did not want to reimburse a worker for medical cannabis prescriptions for an injury that occurred on the job.  MK Construction argued that the New Jersey Compassionate Use Act (the medical marijuana law in New Jersey) was preempted by the Federal Controlled Substances Act, setting up a showdown between state and federal law.

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Legalization of Cannabis in New Jersey Means Employers Should Revise Their Workplace Policies

On February 22, 2021, Governor Philip Murphy signed into law a trio of bills that collectively legalize adult use of recreational cannabis in the State of New Jersey.  The legalization of cannabis, more commonly referred to as marijuana, will have a significant impact on workplaces and institutions of higher education across the state of New Jersey.  Employers should contact legal counsel for guidance on revising their workplace policies to comply with the new law and ensure a safe and healthy working environment. 

The following are key points employers should consider to comply with the new Law.

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Gov. Murphy Signs Cannabis Legalization Bills

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Three months after New Jersey overwhelmingly voted to legalize recreational cannabis, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a set of bills on Monday that made New Jersey the 13th and latest state to end the prohibition of marijuana.  The new laws allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to six ounces of cannabis and will permit the production, distribution and sale of cannabis in New Jersey by licensed businesses.

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New Jersey Assembly Postpones Deadline to Act on Recreational Cannabis Bill

There has been one thing missing since New Jersey citizens voted to legalize adult use recreational cannabis: a law signed by Governor Murphy.  Since the November election, New Jersey lawmakers proposed and approved legislation that would formally legalize adult use recreational marijuana in New Jersey, but Governor Murphy has not signed the bill based on disagreements regarding penalties for underage cannabis users.  The result: limbo.

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New Jersey Legislators Pass Adult Use Recreational Cannabis Bill

In a significant step towards the legalization of recreational cannabis in the Garden State, the New Jersey state Assembly and Senate passed Bill S21 on Thursday, making New Jersey poised to become just the fourth state on the east coast to legalize recreational cannabis. The Bill establishes the proposed framework of the industry and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Murphy.

Earlier this fall, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in New Jersey after the New Jersey legislature was unable to pass an earlier draft of the Bill.

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House of Representatives Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis

On December 4, 2020, the House of Representatives voted 228-164 to pass a bill, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act, that decriminalizes cannabis at the federal level.  Specifically, the bill removed cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, and would require federal cannabis convictions to be expunged.  The bill is not expected to gain traction in the Republican controlled Senate, as just five Republican representatives voted in favor of the bill.  Nevertheless, this vote is the most significant federal action to legalize cannabis in the country’s history.  

United States House of Representatives

New Jersey Passes Legalized Cannabis: What Comes Next?

Last week, New Jersey citizens voted to legalize adult use recreational cannabis.  The question on everyone’s mind is: what happens next?

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On Friday, Senator Nick Scutari released a new bill that would establish the framework for legal cannabis in New Jersey.  The bill is similar to the prior bills introduced by Sen. Scutari.  The New Jersey legislature still has to review and pass the bill for signature by the Governor.  Additionally, the Governor must finalize the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission to be the regulatory oversight body for cannabis in New Jersey.  On Friday, the Governor made progress by making several top appointments to the Commission. Once finalized, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will also have to promulgate regulations for the industry.

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