The State of Cannabis Licensing in New Jersey: What Has Changed?

Image of Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D) and Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D)

Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D) and Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D)

This installment of New Jersey Cannabis Counsel dives into the new Scutari/Sweeney legalization bill (the “Bill” or the “New Bill”) and focuses on what was changed, and what was not changed,  from the predecessor bill (the “Old Bill”) when it comes to cannabis business licenses.

Our inaugural blog post addressed the first step for any legal cannabis business in New Jersey under the Old Bill: licensure.  The New Bill still requires licenses, but has slightly changed the overall licensing structure.  Currently, the New Bill proposes four cannabis licenses:

Class 1: Marijuana Grower License
Class 2: Marijuana Processor License
Class 3: Marijuana Wholesaler License
Class 4: Marijuana Retailer License

Followers of this blog and New Jersey’s efforts to legalize cannabis will be familiar with these licenses.  While the Old Bill had growing and processing under one license, all of the above types of cannabis businesses were included in the Old Bill.  More interesting is what was not included in the New Bill.

First, the Class 4 Cannabis Transportation License seen in the Old Bill is not present in the New Bill.  The regulations that will be promulgated by the DME will likely address transportation of cannabis between cannabis businesses.  Interestingly, § 10 of the Bill, “Tracking System”, has not been updated, even after the removal of the Cannabis Transportation License.  It remains to be seen whether cannabis transportation will be regulated and, if it is, to what degree those regulations will impact cannabis businesses.

Second, there is still no separate license category for a cannabis testing facility, even though the New Bill repeatedly makes reference to the need to test cannabis for potency and safety.  The New Bill still defines “marijuana testing facility” as “an independent, third-party entity meeting accreditation requirements established by the division that is licensed to analyze and certify the safety and potency of marijuana items.”  The Bill, § 3 (emphasis added).  Even with the stated need for a license, the New Bill is still silent on license requirements for testing facilities, suggesting that those will be set forth in the DME regulations.

This Blog will continue to analyze the New Bill and other New Jersey cannabis developments.