The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) issued 14 long-awaited new medical cannabis business licenses Oct. 15.
Nearly 200 entrepreneurs applied for the licenses when the process launched two years ago, according to an NJ.com report, and the CRC ultimately awarded 10 cultivation licenses and four vertically integrated licenses on Friday.
The cultivation licenses went to Hillview Med INC., CYOURN LLC, GSCC Management LLC, NJ Nectar Ventures LLC, Noble Valley Harvest Company, Green Medicine NJ LLC, ZY Labs LLC, the NAR Group Inc., Bloom Medicinals of PA LLC and Garden State Releaf LLC.
The vertically integrated licenses, which allow businesses to grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis, went to Etain NJ LLC, Atlus New Jersey LLC, Holistic NJ LLC and Greenhouse Wellness NJ LLC.
All 14 licenses were awarded to minority- or women-owned businesses, NJ.com reported.
The CRC approved the licenses in a 4-1 vote, according to the news outlet. Officials originally planned to license up to 24 new cannabis businesses—15 dispensaries, five cultivators and four vertically integrated companies—but at the commission’s Oct. 15 meeting, CRC Director Jeff Brown proposed licensing 10 cultivation sites to meet patient demand.
The licensing round began in mid-2019, and by November of that year, regulators had narrowed the pool of applicants to roughly 150, NJ.com reported. However, several rejected applicants filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department of Health, which oversaw New Jersey’s medical cannabis program at the time, wrongfully denied their applications due to a technical error.
A court then halted the licensing process for more than a year before ruling in favor of the Department of Health in February, when it decided that only one rejected applicant had to be placed back into the pool, according to NJ.com.
Even after the court case was resolved, transitioning the state’s medical cannabis program under the authority of the CRC delayed the licensing process even further, the news outlet reported.
New Jersey is still in the process of rolling out it’s adult-use cannabis program, which voters approved in the 2020 election. The 14 newly licensed medical cannabis businesses could eventually serve the adult-use market once they have enough supply to meet the demand of patients and consumers, pay the required licensing fees, and operate in the medical market for at least a year, NJ.com reported.
New Jersey currently has roughly 117,000 registered patients in its medical cannabis program, according to the news outlet, which added that more licenses are expected this round, as the 2019 request for applications involved dispensary-only licenses.