Healthy New Jersey

Cannabis Regulatory Commission

NJ-CRC approves rules for cannabis consumption areas

TRENTON – The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) approved rules for cannabis consumption areas in its public meeting on Wednesday, January 17. The new rules establish operational framework for medicinal and adult-use cannabis operators who want to add cannabis consumption spaces to their dispensary.  

Cannabis consumption areas are an expansion opportunity for cannabis operators, boosting the overall economic impact of the cannabis industry in the state. The rules will take effect upon approval by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law. Dispensary operators will need municipal approval to have a consumption area in order to get an endorsement from the  

"New Jersey’s cannabis industry is well on its way to being a billion-dollar industry, and consumption areas will likely bolster that – fostering a communal experience for those 21 and older around cannabis in a regulated and secure space," said NJ-CRC executive director Jeff Brown.  

Cannabis consumption areas must be attached to a dispensary and operators will be limited to a single consumption area, regardless of the number of dispensaries they own. Among the requirements for consumption spaces is having HVAC systems robust enough to ensure proper ventilation and prevent smoke or vapors from affecting neighbors. The sale of food, alcohol, tobacco, or nicotine products will be strictly prohibited, though patrons will be allowed to bring in or order food and nonalcoholic beverages. Medicinal Cannabis Program patients and recreational use customers may bring in medical cannabis or personal use cannabis items into a consumption area, so long as the on-premises consumption of that cannabis is authorized. 

Fees associated with consumption area endorsements are $1,000 for the initial or renewal fee for a microbusiness, and $5,000 for the initial or renewal fee for a standard consumption area. Endorsements through the NJ-CRC are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. 

Businesses have flexibility in their operational decisions, like particular hours of operation, fees to enter a consumption area, priority access to medicinal patients, and authorizing paid events. All businesses must, however, adhere to any restrictions imposed by the municipality, including but not limited to restricting the number of consumption areas allowed in their town, business signage, and communication with municipal emergency services.  

"Having space to consume cannabis is not just about recreation. It is also about providing equitable access and offering people a safe place to consume legal cannabis products,” said NJ-CRC chairwoman Dianna Houenou. "This move holds particular significance for communities that are limited in where they can enjoy cannabis – most notably, renters who cannot consume cannabis at home, unlike homeowners who enjoy greater freedom." 

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission establishes and enforces the rules and regulations governing the licensing, cultivation, testing, selling, and purchasing of cannabis in the state. 

to top