New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) has repeatedly delayed the launch of the state’s commercial adult-use cannabis market, and now, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden, wants to know why.
Scutari announced March 29 that a special bipartisan legislative committee will be formed to investigate the delays, according to the New Jersey Globe.
“These delays are totally unacceptable,” Scutari said in a statement to the news outlet. “We need to get the legal marijuana market up and running in New Jersey. This has become a failure to follow through on the public mandate and to meet the expectations for new businesses and consumers.”
Scutari has long been a proponent of cannabis legalization, which became a reality in New Jersey in the November 2020 election, when voters approved an adult-use legalization measure.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who also supports cannabis policy reform and campaigned on adult-use legalization in 2017, then signed legislation into law in February 2021 to implement the program.
What followed has been a series of delays, from the CRC missing a September 2021 deadline to begin accepting adult-use cannabis business license applications to the most recent setback, when the CRC opted at its March 24 meeting to postpone approval of eight medical cannabis dispensaries that want to expand to serve the broader adult-use market.
“We may not be 100 percent there today, but I assure you we will get there,” CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said of the latest delay. “We have a few things to address, and when we address them, I’m happy to return to this body with a further update.”
Adult-use sales were initially expected to launch in late February, but regulators are now aiming for later this spring, although a firm date has not been announced.
Scutari indicated in his announcement about the special committee that the members have yet to be named and the group’s schedule has yet to be determined, according to the New Jersey Globe.