NJ to miss deadline to start adult-use marijuana applications, report says

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New Jersey regulators reportedly won’t make Saturday’s statutory deadline to begin accepting adult-use marijuana business license applications for the projected $1 billion market.

But they plan to publish a public notice that lists an application start date and the information an applicant will need to submit an application, NJ.com reported.

Regulators intend to provide businesses a clear picture of what materials they will need to submit an application so they can prepare to do so before the licensing round is opened.

The online news outlet noted that such a process could provide a more equitable opportunity for smaller entrepreneurs who likely won’t have the application assistance that larger companies can afford.

“It doesn’t mean we’re not going to open up applications soon,” an unidentified commission source told NJ.com.

New Jersey met its statutory August deadline to adopt initial program rules, starting a 180-day clock to announce a program launch date.

It’s unclear whether a more deliberate application process might delay the launch of New Jersey’s recreational marijuana market.

MJBizDaily projects New Jersey’s adult-use market will generate annual sales of $850 million-$950 million by 2024.

Sales appear likely to start around the spring of 2022, unless medical marijuana operators are given a head start.

Supply could be a problem in transitioning to an adult-use market, experts have said.

New Jersey has issued only 12 vertical medical marijuana licenses. Eleven are in operation, and a total of 22 dispensaries are open statewide, according to the state health department’s MMJ website.

State lawmakers in 2019 approved an additional 24 MMJ licenses, but that licensing was blocked by litigation.

A court ruling earlier this year freed up the licensing round, but regulators reportedly are reviewing around 150 applications.