Priority applications increase opportunities in the cannabis industry for people from statutorily designated target communities. Three types of cannabis businesses will receive priority review and approval in the application process:
- Social Equity Businesses, which are owned by people who have lived in economically disadvantaged areas of the state or who have past convictions for cannabis offenses;
- Diversely Owned Businesses, which are minority-owned, woman-owned, or disabled veteran-owned and certified as such by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury in one or more of the listed categories; and
- Impact Zone Businesses, which are located in an Impact Zone, owned by people from Impact Zones, or employ residents of Impact Zones. Impact zones are municipalities with a large population, high unemployment rate, or high numbers of crime or arrests for marijuana.
Social Equity Businesses, Diversely Owned Businesses, and Impact-Zone businesses will be prioritized in the licensure process so that their applications are reviewed before other applicants – regardless of when they apply.
Microbusinesses, which are limited to 10 employees and 2,500 square feet, will also be prioritized and, if successful, allowed to apply to expand their business in accordance with consumer demand.