New Jersey legalized the adult use of Cannabis last year. Now, the Garden State is finally one step closer to legal sales.
Thursday, state regulators for the first outlined how the future of the marijuana industry will look, reports CBS New York.
The exact date of legal marijuana sales in New Jersey has not yet been announced.
Municipalities can ban Cannabis businesses from operating in their area. In fact, hundreds already have in anticipation of the enactment of these regulations. But they cannot prohibit delivery services, reports Marijuana Moment.
Municipalities have until Saturday, August 21, to enact ordinances either regulating or banning cannabis businesses.
Rules Favor New Jersey Residents, Promote Diversity
In a virtual announcement Thursday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission released the first set of rules.
On the business side, many of the regulations will favor local New Jersey residents with diverse backgrounds applying to operate marijuana businesses.
The commission will also prioritize applicants with previous Cannabis-related convictions to make up for disparities of laws in the past.
There are also rules to protect children:
- Children cannot enter dispensaries.
- Cannabis products will be sold in child-proof packaging, which must include health warnings.
- Businesses will also face severe consequences for selling to minors.
Just Two Days To Spare
To try to ensure safe use among adults, people over the age of 21 can legally purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The law strictly prohibits driving under the influence of Cannabis.
The regulations come just two days before municipalities must decide whether to allow weed businesses to operate within their borders.
Towns that opt out initially can always revisit the matter later, but opting in now means towns and cities must stick with that decision for five years.
“We knew that we had a Herculean task before us because, when we started this agency, there was nothing to begin with,” said chair Dianna Houenou of the NJCRC. She thanked stakeholders who commented throughout the rulemaking process, reports Marijuana Moment. The input was useful, Houenou said, “helped us understand how to do this work and do it right.”
New Jersey Municipalities: Wait And See?
Without clear regulations from the state until so late in the game, many towns and cities have decided to take a wait-and-see approach. That’s true for the Bergen County village of Ridgewood.
“I think it was important for us, the Village Council, the village of Ridgewood, to take a cautious approach, and by opting out will allow us the opportunity to review the rules and regulations,” Mayor Susan Knudsen said.
Seaside Heights also voted no to pot sales and cultivation. Mayor Tony Vaz said he worries about tarnishing the shore town’s new family-friendly image.
“We’re looking to show a dynamic of family destination,” Mayor Vaz said. “We didn’t want people bringing down their families with younger kids and seeing pot being smoked in public or drinking in public. We don’t permit it.”
Legal Sales In 6 Months
Legal sales of Cannabis must begin in the next 180 days, according to the law.
The marijuana commission will decide precisely when that is.
There will not be any licensing caps, except for cultivators. The grower cap is 37, though that rule expires on February 22, 2023.
The reguatory commission says more rules are on the way in the coming weeks and months. Industry observers expect regulations for things like delivery services and wholesalers. Commissioners expect to revise and adjust the rules over time.