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marijuana growing license nj

But here’s the problem: although it is legal in New Jersey for any adult to buy cannabis, it’s still not legal for anyone to grow a single plant. If a police officer in New Jersey catches anyone growing cannabis, that person can go to prison for five years and face a $25,000 fine — for growing one plant. That is an untenable situation that lacks any legal logic, and it stinks like Mark Sanchez’s mask after the butt fumble.

Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Sen. Cory Booker is leading the charge to legalize cannabis at the federal level. Yet somewhere between Booker and Gopal, the New Jersey Democratic Party seems to have lost the script. Advocating for a simple home-grown solution should be a simple policy decision for a political party focused on the people.

That puts police groups and marijuana businesses on the same side of the issue in a Baptist-bootlegger compromise to maintain the last remaining vestiges of prohibition. And that’s a mess.

The application process is a prelude to sales of recreational marijuana, approved by New Jersey voters in a 2020 ballot measure. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission hasn’t provided an estimate on when sales can begin.

Nearly 120,000 patients are registered in the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.

The commission will begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana dispensaries on March 15.

Within each category, conditional and microbusiness applications will be considered before standard, annual license applications. Conditional applicants are entrepreneurs who have a business plan but require state approval before bringing on investors or winning approval from a local municipality.

“Equity” applicants, filed by those who have been convicted of marijuana crimes or live in economically disadvantaged areas, been convicted for marijuana charges, are placed at the front of the line, followed by applications with diverse ownership and those located in impact zones.

CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said the goal was to ease supply and demand issues faced by the state’s 117,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Initially, the state was only set to issue five cultivation permits — but Brown asked commissioners to approve the 10 licenses as a way to kickstart the process.

It could take months for such operations to open their doors after trying to find a location, building out and waiting for cannabis plants to grow.

The cultivation licenses were awarded to:

“We anticipate dynamic growth and development in the industry as the new entities become operational and the great potential of New Jersey’s adult-use market becomes a reality,” New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association President Shaya Brodchandel said in a statement. “Together, we have an exciting road ahead and look forward to working with these new licensees — and those to come — to continue building this growing industry.”

Ownership changes have become commonplace in the cannabis industry, especially in states with medical marijuana programs where weed has since been legalized.