New Jersey Cannabis Laws and Regulations For Industry Professionals
Cannabis in New Jersey is now legal for medical and adult use! In this post, we walk through the important New Jersey cannabis laws. In fact, medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2010. However, recreational cannabis (personal use) was recently legalized in January 2021 when Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act into law. Governor Murphy’s act also enabled the decriminalization of marijuana and hashish possession for non-distribution offenses. Additionally, Attorney General Grewal issued documents to law enforcement describing the new requirements and providing enforcement guidance.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has also issued guidance on “workplace impairment” related to cannabis use. Essentially, employees in New Jersey will not face discrimination by employers because of the use of cannabis, but can still be subject to drug tests if their place of work requires them.
Cannabis legalization means progress for the state, but it also comes with extensive rules and regulations for recreational and medical cannabis businesses, employees, and consumers. Not everyone has time to read through hundreds of pages of legal text or hire an attorney to help them.
Therefore, this post covers the important regulations related to cannabis businesses, including general oversight, acquiring a license, and operating a marijuana business.
General oversight of cannabis laws in New Jersey
Two primary entities to oversee legal cannabis in the New Jersey–the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) and Metrc.
The CRC establishes and enforces the rules and regulations around cannabis in New Jersey. The agency also regulates the sale of medicinal and recreational cannabis products.
Metrc is the seed-to-sale tracking system that regulates the cannabis marketplace in New Jersey. From the moment a cannabis seed is planted to the moment it is sold, Metrc compliance requirements must be met, including tracking plants with RFID tags. Altogether, Metrc is the source of truth for recreational marijuana operators.
Most importantly, if you work at or operate a cannabis business in the state of New Jersey, you must familiarize yourself with the CRC and Metrc.
New Jersey cannabis licensing
To operate a cannabis business in New Jersey, you must first acquire a license from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Right now, the CRC is accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses in the following categories:
- Class 1 Cultivator Licenses
- Class 2 Manufacturer Licenses
- Class 5 Retailers (cannabis dispensaries)
- Testing Laboratories
At this point, there is no limit on the number of recreational use cannabis business licenses available in New Jersey.
Social Equity Businesses, Diversely-Owned Businesses, Impact Zone Businesses, and applications that receive bonus points will be afforded priority review, scoring, and approval.
To acquire a cannabis business license in New Jersey, you’ll have to:
1. Decide on your license type
There are six types of cannabis business licenses available in New Jersey:
- Cultivator (cannabis growers)
- Manufacturer (create products like edibles, concentrates, vape cartridges, etc.)
- Wholesaler (sell bulk recreational and medical marijuana products to dispensaries)
- Distributor (transport cannabis goods between licensees
- Retailer (sell cannabis products to consumers)
- Delivery (deliver marijuana directly to consumers)
- Microbusiness licenses for small businesses (licenses with under 10 employees)
Applicants can also apply for a temporary license. Temporary licenses allow businesses to operate while working to meet the requirements for a full license.
2. Apply for a license
To secure a cannabis industry license in NJ, you’ll have to go through the application process. Follow these steps in order to successfully complete your cannabis business application.
- Firstly, submit an online application here.
- Secondly, submit the following forms:
- Personal History Disclosure
- Entity Disclosure Forms
- Signed affidavits, releases, and waivers
- Social Equity Business attestation, if seeking to apply as a Social Equity Business
- Thirdly, complete the pre-application checklist
- Finally, Review this application guide for help along the way
Cannabis business requirements
Operational New Jersey cannabis businesses are required to meet strict compliance requirements in accordance with state law. Consequently, everyone from receptionists to budtenders to managers to owners will have rules that must be followed.
General cannabis business requirements include:
- Maintaining sanitary conditions throughout the business premises
- Following security measures
- Avoid serving minors (those under 21)
- Developing, implementing, and maintaining an operations manual
- Preventing the escape of odors associated with cannabis over the boundary of the property
- Implementing a plan to increase sustainability in operations
- Ensuring visitors entering the premises are accompanied by an escort with a Cannabis Business Identification Card at all times
Cannabis employee requirements
To work at an adult-use cannabis facility in New Jersey, you must obtain a Business ID. These IDs are owned by the business, not the individual, so you will submit an application through your employer.
Moreover, other requirements to get a job at a cannabis business include:
- Being at least 21 years old
- Completing an authorized training course
- Passing a background check
- Finding employment at a licensed cannabis business.
For example, popular entry-level marijuana jobs in New Jersey include:
- Delivery driver
- Marketing assistant/associate
- Packaging associate
For those employed at a cannabis business: All New Jersey cannabis employees are required to complete at least eight hours of ongoing cannabis-related training each year.
As a matter of fact, the training must be tailored to the roles and responsibilities of the person’s job or role function and include:
- State and Federal marijuana laws
- State and Federal privacy and confidentiality laws
- Informational developments in the field of cannabis
- The proper use of security measures
- Specific procedural instructions for responding to an emergency (notifying New Jersey law enforcement), including a robbery or workplace violence
Hence, businesses have to either provide this training themselves or work with an outside resource capable of meeting personnel training needs.
Get New Jersey cannabis laws training today!
In summary, the cannabis industry is complex. Accordingly, to build a strong foundation centered around compliance and regulatory understanding, outside education from THC University is essential.
Our New Jersey Regulations course specifically covers the fundamental aspects of the New Jersey cannabis laws and compliance requirements. Employees, managers, and even owners can benefit from becoming New Jersey cannabis certified.
Learn more about THC University’s NJ Cannabis Regulations Course here!