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Cannabis Regulatory Commission

Priority Applications

Priority applications increase opportunities in the cannabis industry for people from designated target communities, for people with cannabis convictions (expunged or not), and for minorities, women, and disabled veterans.  Three types of cannabis businesses will receive priority review and approval in the application process:

  • Diversely Owned Businesses - 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
  • Social Equity Businesses - owned by people who have lived in an Economically Disadvantaged Area of the state, or who have convictions for cannabis-related offenses (expunged or not)
  • Impact Zone Businesses - located in an Impact Zone, owned by people from an Impact Zone, or employing residents of Impact Zones.

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. 

Applications will be accepted on a continuous rolling basis and shall be reviewed, scored, and approved in the following order:

  1. Social Equity Businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business;
    3. Have submitted a conditional license conversion application;
  2. Diversely Owned businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business;
    3. Have submitted a conditional license conversion application;
  3. Impact Zone Businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business;
    3. Have submitted a conditional license conversion application;
  4. License applicants receiving bonus points pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:6I-36.d(2) and the Notice of Approval, ordered by first in time, that;
    1. Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business;
    3. Have submitted a conditional license conversion application;
  5. All other applicants for conditional licenses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted a conditional license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted a conditional license application for a standard business;
    3. Have submitted a conditional license conversion application;
  6. Social Equity Businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business;
  7. Diversely-Owned businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness; Notice of Application Acceptance
    2. Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business;
  8. Impact Zone Businesses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business;
  9. License applicants receiving bonus points pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:6I-36.d(2) and the Notice of Applications, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business; and
  10. All other applicants for annual licenses, ordered by first in time, that:
    1. Have submitted an annual license application for a microbusiness;
    2. Have submitted an annual license application for a standard business.

 

Applications from entities that meet criteria for more than one priority status will be reviewed, scored, and approved in accordance with the status of highest priority. For example, an application from an entity that meets the criteria to be a Diversely-Owned Business and an Impact Zone Business will be considered a Diversely-Owned Business for purposes of application priority since Diversely-Owned Businesses are of higher priority than Impact Zone Businesses.

Diversely-Owned Business applications with more than one certification from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services will be given priority over applications that have one certification.

Priority shall be given in the following manner:

  1. After an application is received, it will be assigned for completeness review and then, if deemed complete, will be assigned for scoring. Where an eligible application exists in a higher priority group, with 1A being the highest and 10B being the lowest, that application will be assigned for completeness review and scoring before applications in lower priority groups.
  2. Once an application has been scored, if it is deemed eligible for consideration of final agency approval by the Commission, it shall also be considered in accordance with their priority group, with 1A being the highest and 10B being the lowest.

Testing laboratory license applications shall be included in priority 1A.


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