March 5, 2021
How Cannabis Industry Leaders Like Curaleaf Will Serve New Jersey’s Recreational Market
A close-up of cannabis flowerSource: Envato Elements
After a three-year legislative battle, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) signed three bills that legalize up to six ounces of cannabis in New Jersey last week.
“In addition to the estimated $126 million in annual tax revenue by the NJ State Legislature, the adult-use market will now open-up a lot of new economic opportunities across the state,” Patrik Jonsson, Curaleaf Regional President, Northeast, explained to us via email.
Although medical marijuana was initially legalized in the Garden State in 2010, Jonsson noted that this shift to the adult-use market will open these opportunities in a way that supports communities that have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.
“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” Gov. Murphy said last week. “We’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history.”
Rebuilding New Jersey in the Aftermath of the War on Drugs
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act mandates that NJ’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission must prioritize cannabis operation applications that will positively affect “impact zones” — which the state defines as:
- An area with a population exceeding at least 120,000
- A municipality that ranks top 40 in New Jersey’s marijuana or hashish-related arrests in the calendar year prior
- An area with a crime index of at least 825
- A municipality with an average annual unemployment rate that ranks in the top 15 percent of all municipalities in New Jersey
In ranking applications based on these criteria, the commission will prioritize the following types of applications:
- Applications for cannabis establishments, distributors, or delivery services located in impact zones that have less than two licensed cannabis operations within them
- Applications by those who currently reside in an impact zone and have lived there for at least three years in a row
- The Cannabis Regulatory Commission intends on issuing 25 percent of licenses to these applicants (regardless of where their operation is located)
- An applicant who presents a plan for 25 percent of their employees to be residents of impact zones
These are significant changes that ensure these communities will not be left behind as the very same industry that tore them apart is transformed into a platform to help the state prosper.
New Jersey is dedicated to making sure its cannabis market is still accessible to those who have been unjustly devastated by the War on Drugs.
Furthermore, this legislation parallels many of the core values advocated for by cannabis companies like Curaleaf.
“At Curaleaf, we’ve committed to hiring 10 percent of all 2021 new hires from communities impacted by cannabis-related offenses,” Jonsson said.
Curaleaf on New Jersey’s New Adult-Use Legislation
To gain insight on what this new legislation means for industry-leading cannabis operators, we corresponded with Jonsson to learn more about how Curaleaf intends to serve New Jersey’s new adult-use market.
Are there any plans for Curaleaf to open any new medical or recreational cannabis dispensaries in New Jersey, given the new legislation?
Curaleaf has been actively preparing to meet the growing demands of the market with the expansion of our cultivation capacity at a new facility in Winslow Township, and two additional dispensaries, in Borden Township and Edgewater, which will create hundreds of new jobs in the Garden State.
Our new Winslow Township cultivation site will nearly triple our cultivation capacity, ensuring that we are able to serve the market’s growing needs as cannabis continues to grow in interest.
Providing best-in-class products and services for our medical use market will remain our first priority as we continue to execute our mission of making cannabis more accessible and inclusive.
What types of products can cannabis consumers look forward to seeing from Curaleaf, Select, and Grassroots in New Jersey in the near future?
We’re excited to bring some of our favorite products in from the Select line to New Jersey in the next couple of months. New Jersey residents can already access some of our favorite Curaleaf oils, resins, 1:10 tinctures, carts, and more.
We look forward to expanding more into the market to provide cannabis consumers with exciting new products.
How do your operating practices compare across the Curaleaf, Select, and Grassroots brands?
Select, America’s #1 Cannabis Oil Brand, was acquired by Curaleaf in February 2020 and can be found in over a thousand dispensaries in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
In July 2020, Curaleaf closed on its acquisition of Grassroots. In connection with that acquisition, nine Herbology retail locations in Pennsylvania will come under the Curaleaf umbrella and branding. The Company has plans for additional expansion in Pennsylvania’s medical market throughout 2021.
What do you find personally meaningful or significant about New Jersey’s legislation, compared to other states that have legalized recreational cannabis?
With every state that follows suit in the adult-use category, we are continuing to normalize the use of cannabis in everyday life, and taking strides toward federal legalization.
New Jersey’s recent passage of adult-use cannabis does justice towards preserving the roots and morale of the cannabis industry. This new legislation represents yet another milestone for marijuana policy reform and another gallant stride towards ending the War on Drugs.
States like New Jersey and Illinois — which implemented the Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program along with its adult-use cannabis legislation last year — are exemplary in demonstrating how the cannabis industry can be a tool for healing beyond its medical uses.
Cannabis, when regulated with particular care towards impact zones, can be a tool for economic and social healing, as well.
“New Jersey’s Adult-Use legislation has already catalyzed a wave of discussions on legalization in New York and Connecticut and most recently Pennsylvania,” Jonnson added. “This is a significant milestone for our growing industry and a recognition of cannabis’ increasingly mainstream role within society.”
As New Jersey shifts towards an adult-use cannabis market, industry-leading operators such as Curaleaf are here to support these communities and new cannabis users, as well.
“With the addition of New Jersey’s recreational market, we’ll have a chance to expand our Rooted in Good program supporting local organizations to help advance underrepresented communities in the cannabis ecosystem,” Jonnson said. “This is something I’m passionate about and every state we can implement more initiatives in helps lift up every business in the growth of the cannabis industry.”
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