Yesterday New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved its first batch of cannabis operator annual licenses during its monthly meeting.
The CRC also approved a massive batch of 296 applications for provisional licenses. The approvals include a mix of proposed cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers.
“I’m very happy that we’ve been able to reach this point,” said CRC Chair Dianna Houenu. “We’re able to approve nearly 300 conditional license applications and now we have the first ever conditional conversional applications in the state of New Jersey for regulated cannabis.”
Adult use sales officially began in New Jersey on April 21, 2022. At that point, certain existing medical cannabis operators were the only ones authorized to sell in the new adult use market.
[View the CRC meeting slide presentation.]
CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown presented a report on cannabis prices in the state. Often prices tend to be high at the start of the legal market, due to limited supply in terms of both cultivation and actual storefronts for purchasing. New Jersey appears to be conforming to this trend.
“Prices are still high in New Jersey,” said Brown. “Medical cannabis menus have been consistently more robust than adult use menus. Prices have gone up, but less than the rate of inflation.”
The CRC cites average prices in August as $14.80 per gram for medical and $16.20 per gram for adult use. Over the last eight months, medical prices have slowly risen, from about $398 per ounce in January to $414 in August.
The Commission also approved a 45-day extension for existing adult use conditional license holders. This was intended to ease some of the burden that prospective operators are facing in gaining real estate or municipal approval for their proposed cannabis business.
“This will give conditional license holders the time to do what they need to do to convert their licenses to annual ones,” said Brown.
The meeting also featured a unanimous vote to increase the state’s excise tax, based on recent sales. After the start of retail sales, the CRC also approved an adjustment of excise taxes to adjust to current prices. This means cultivators can expect to pay $1.52 per ounce in 2023, after 2022’s rate of $1.10.
“The way that the legal cannabis industry can benefit is by ensuring that we raise revenue and make critical investments in equity and communities around the state,” said Brown. “Now that we have data from adult use, we are recommending the excise fee be adjusted to the actual price of retail sales of recreational cannabis.”
The Commission issued its first set of approvals for conditionals to be converted into annual licenses. Within that first batch are seven cultivators, two manufacturers and one retailer.
The Commission also approved 296 applications for provisional licenses to operate within the adult use cannabis market, whether it be through cultivation, manufacturing or retail. This marks a huge step in licensing for the Garden State’s emerging legal cannabis market.
“These applications have been reviewed for priority,” said Brown. “They’ve been deemed complete. They’ve scored sufficiently high on the application to be considered for licensure.”
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Brown. “This is the first of new annual licenses the commission is considering.”
“The numbers may be small, but they’re mighty,” added Vice Chair Sam Delgado.
The next CRC meeting is scheduled for Dec. 8, in person in Trenton.