Considering a Legal Cannabis Business? Have You Heard the Latest?
Medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey for quite some time. That said, there are limitations on the number of available licenses. Meanwhile, many are waiting for recreational weed to become a reality. In fact, if you’re considering opening a legal cannabis business, you surely need to know the latest.
First and foremost, you may not understand the delay. Frankly, it’s a matter of votes. In the State Assembly, recreational use legalization needs 41 votes to pass; 21 are necessary from the Senate. As it now stands, the majority of legislators are either undecided or not revealing how they intend to vote.
Of those representing Hudson County constituents, State Assemblywoman Angela McKnight is the one of eight who has already agreed to vote yes on the legalization of recreational cannabis. Only five state senators have indicated they are in accordance with the proposed legislation – none are from Hudson County.
Legal Cannabis as a Business
Only six alternative treatment centers are authorized to service medical marijuana patients in New Jersey. In response to an increase in demand, officials accepted applications for six additional centers throughout the state. Those selected to open new dispensaries will receive notification by November 1, 2018.
Some of the answers provided in response to questions about alternative treatment centers may prove useful. For example, it is possible for a business to cultivate medical cannabis in one location and dispense it in another. That said, there are restrictions concerning the proximity.
Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries
What about recreational marijuana dispensaries? Senate Bill 2703 provides some insights into the initial thoughts of the legislature. However, business opportunities could extend beyond different classifications as follows:
- Marijuana retailer – Business licensed to purchase marijuana from marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana items from marijuana product manufacturing facilities or marijuana wholesaler. Business would subsequently be eligible to sell marijuana and marijuana products in a retail store, which would be referred to as a dispensary.
- Marijuana testing facility – Independent, third-party entity licensed to analyze and certify the safety and potency of marijuana items.
- Marijuana wholesaler – Licensed person or entity who sells marijuana items or marijuana paraphernalia for the purpose of resale either to a licensed marijuana wholesaler or to a licensed marijuana retailer.
According to a recent news article, legislators initially intended to limit recreational dispensaries to 120 retail shops. As it stands now, the cap has been lifted. For smaller business owners, New Jersey has some incentives. The proposed laws call for the issuance of at least ten percent of “micro-licenses.”
Location. Location. Location.
Just about everybody knows the importance is choosing a location for setting up a business. In Jersey City, the Mayor has already indicated his support for opening dispensaries within the city limits. Of course, prospective business owners will still need to be mindful of the Federal Drug-Free School Zones Act, 21 U.S.C. 860, and the New Jersey Drug-Free School Zone Law, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.
In the meantime, several communities have already passed ordinances outlawing the opening of recreational dispensaries in their towns. These include several New Jersey shore locations, as well as the following North Jersey communities:
- East Rutherford
- Franklin Lakes
- Hasbrouck Heights
- Midland Park
- North Haledon
- Upper Saddle River
- Woodcliff Lake
The reasons cited by local authorities differ from town to town. However, it just makes sense to look elsewhere rather than debate how your prospective business could bring something to a community.
Are you an entrepreneur thinking of opening up some aspect of a legal cannabis business? It is critical that you seek legal advice from the onset of the process. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to see how we can help you!