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How to Win a Cannabis License in New Jersey as a Social Equity Business

The opening of New Jersey’s cannabis market is among the most hotly anticipated of the last few years. No surprise: With a value projected to reach between $1.2 and $1.5 billion by 2023, the Garden State will soon join the top rank when it comes to legal cannabis markets. And to the delight of many industry watchers and restorative justice advocates alike, New Jersey is signaling that social equity in cannabis will be front and center.

We’ve written about the cannabis licensing requirements in New Jersey before (and we suggest you revisit that article to familiarize yourself with the landscape). In today’s post, we’ll talk about some of the ways in which the state plans to incentivize diversely owned businesses, restore communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs, and lay the groundwork for a robust, fair, and equitable cannabis market.

And if you’re looking to join New Jersey’s fast-growing cannabis industry, take special note: We’ll share some of the ways that you, as a social equity applicant, can gain a competitive advantage.

Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Jersey: Opportunities for Diverse and Impact Zone Applicants

New Jersey is hardly the only state to focus on social equity in cannabis. But thus far, the state’s cannabis regulations—laid out in the recently adopted adult-use law—have won praise for keeping the focus on previously underserved regions and populations. And in addition to redressing the harm done to specific populations and communities through police and justice system overreach, the state’s plan is designed to leverage cannabis-derived revenues to spur vigorous reinvestment in these affected areas.

Under state law, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission is charged with imposing a “social equity excise fee” on the cultivation of adult-use cannabis. And under the current structure, the proceeds from this fee—in addition to a hefty 70% of cannabis sales tax revenue—is to be set aside for initiatives designed to offset disparities related to drug laws and aggressive policing. These funds will take the form of grants, loans, reimbursement of expenses, and other financial considerations.

Through related policies, the CRC will earmark nearly one-third of all cannabis business licenses to diversely owned businesses, as well as prioritize applicants located in “impact zones” (defined as those municipalities negatively impacted by unemployment, poverty, or past cannabis enforcement activity).

Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Jersey: The Groundwork for Success

As should be clear, New Jersey’s focus on social equity in cannabis represents a special opportunity for a number of populations. But on their own, these attributes aren’t enough to guarantee success when it comes to crafting a successful cannabis business license application.

Whether or not you’re a designated diverse applicant or reside in an impact zone, partnering with Bridge West can dramatically increase your chances of winning a cannabis license in New Jersey. With over a decade of experience in the field, we guide prospective applicants through the maze of rules and regulations involved in securing a cannabis license. And with access to funders, mentors, and other key stakeholders, Bridge West can enhance your chance of success in this fluid, competitive, and fast-moving industry.

Ready to talk? Reach out anytime.