So the NJ CRC continues to slow roll the licensing of new cannabis business, specifically, New Jersey-owned businesses that are applying as Social Equity and Diversity businesses for cannabis. This delay is needlessly contributing to a continued Oligopoly of 8 out of state corporations being the only licensed players in New Jersey’s Adult Use cannabis marketplace today and contributes to the financial demise of the social equity and diversity applicants the CRC is charged with supporting the most.
Specifically, it’s taken almost 5 months on average to just get a conditional license application approved, based on a quick analysis of the 500 conditional license awardees and when they likely submitted their applications. And keep in mind this includes ZERO conversion or annual license approvals, which must be obtained before you can start operations.
But that’s not the worst of it. You could excuse, up until a point, that delay on account of the CRC receiving 1,300 applications and having to staff up its application review team.
That said, the really inexcusable delay comes AFTER a business gets their Conditional Award. Based on discussions with numerous license applicants, it’s taking the CRC about 30 days on average to simply invoice conditional awardees their license acceptance fee, a necessary step before the CRC actually issues the Conditional License and its commensurate License ID. 30 days just to issue an invoice and allow an awardee to pay for their license. That’s another month’s rent payment on a leased property for a license applicant. I can assure you the out of state ATCs didn’t wait anything close to that. Absurd.
And it gets worse from there. After waiting 5 months for the Conditional approval, and another 30 days before the CRC allows payment for the license, you have to wait another 31 days on average before they accept your payment so you can submit yet another application. That’s right, in order to submit an application for conditional conversion to an annual license, which is another necessary step in the review process prior to gaining approval to actually operate in the business, the CRC needs to make that application available to the Conditional License Awardee in the CRC’s application portal. The CRC is taking another 31 days on average after receiving the license application fee to open the portal and allow an applicant to submit their conversion application. So bottom line, for an applicant rearing to go with a conversion application (they had five months to work on it while waiting for the initial conditional license to be approved mind you), they are waiting another 2 months on average for the CRC to do simple administrative tasks to enable a conversion application to be submitted.
While I still believe the CRC has the best intentions here, with absurdities like this from them, it is getting harder not to think they are intentionally hold back any business that isn’t an ATC from operating in the New Jersey market.