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by Gabrielle Caravetta


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New Jersey Accepts Applications for Recreational Growth

by Gabrielle Caravetta


New Jersey Accepts Applications for Recreational Growth

by Gabrielle Caravetta


Credit: Susan K. Livio @ NJ.com

Applications from cannabis growers, product manufacturers and testing labs filtered into the Murphy Administration this Wednesday in New Jersey. After the application portal went live at 9 a.m. 500 people had established accounts, and by the end of the day that number had risen to 635, according to commission spokeswoman Toni-Anne Blake. 

Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed on a continuous basis, there will be no deadline. On March 15th the commission will start accepting applications for dispensary owners, the retail shops that will sell cannabis products for recreational purposes. 

The executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission Jeff Brown states, “We are happy to reach this milestone. Applications are coming in, the platform is performing well, and we can officially mark the launch of the state’s recreational cannabis industry.”

One of the goals behind New Jersey’s legalization of the sale and possession of weed is to decrease the harm experienced by black and brown people, who have been three times more likely to face arrest and conviction than whites despite usage rates being the same. Applicants owned by women, minorities and veterans will be prioritized for review and approval by the commission as well as those from people who have been convicted of marijuana offenses and people from poor communities. 

The commission created the Office of Minority, Disabled Veterans, and Women Business Development to promote diversity in the state. There is also a category for Social Equity Business applicants, defined as entities “owned by people who have lived in an economically disadvantaged area or who have convictions for cannabis-related offenses.” Communities are considered to be economically disadvantaged if people earn 80% or less of New Jersey’s median household income of $90,444 and have an uninsured rate of 1.5 times that of the rest of the state. 

Businesses may apply for a license under an Impact Zone designation if the community they come from has unemployment rates that are 32% higher than that of the rest of N.J., 77% more marijuana arrests, and an overall crime rate of 34% or more than the rest of the state. A group of grower licenses for the medicinal marijuana program accounted in October was billed as being all “certified minority -or women-owned.” The majority of those minority license winners were actually all white women. Applicants of color expressed to NJ Advance Media that they had not received accurate points for being “minority” applicants in the scoring and award process. 

The commission’s commitment to diversity continues to remain evident according to executive director Jeff Brown.