New licenses will bring positive changes to NJ
By Michael McQueeny, counsel, NJCTA
The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association (“NJCTA”) is the association of New Jersey’s licensed alternative treatment centers (“ATCs”) and exists to serve as a thought leader and clearinghouse for industry related issues and concerns. NJCTA recognizes that the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act and related rules and regulations (“CREAMMA”) provide the existing ATCs the opportunity to become dual-use licenses, servicing both the adult-use and registered patient population. In short, our patients will always come first, notwithstanding any expanded ATC designations. NJCTA’s collective membership has been shouldering the load of the industry for years now – a right and responsibility that is squarely within the mission of each of the ATCs. That being said, we value that the differences in our respective operations, from cultivation methods, strain varieties, and product varieties are what make a strong and thriving marketplace. In that vein, we are proud of the tremendous growth of the program since the election of Governor Murphy and under the leadership of then Assistant Commissioner, and now Executive Director, Jeff Brown, which has seen the program rise from five dispensaries to over 20, and a patient population that has grown from 15,000 to more than 110,000. While the existing ATCs have increased and expanded their total canopy and, more so, created incredible operational efficiencies that have maximized the total yield per square foot and number of harvests per year. But again, new products, offerings and, importantly, operators are critical to the ongoing success of the medical cannabis marketplace. We trust that the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“CRC”) will soon announce at least 24 additional licenses statewide, thereby creating more canopy, more operators, more products, and more access. We encourage the CRC to act swiftly in this regard, as patients, communities, and the existing industry have been anxiously waiting since August 2019.
We can attest firsthand as to the positive impact that these new licenses will hold for the state, in terms of job creation, tax revenue and, most importantly, competition in the marketplace that ultimately will result in more and better products for our patients as a whole.