By: Reney Waters, Follow South Jersey News Reporting Intern
TRENTON, NJ — Last week, New Jersey took one step closer to opening its recreational marijuana marketplace.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted on August 19 to adopt its first set of rules regarding personal use of marijuana. It also opened applications for cannabis business licenses with an emphasis on creating a diverse, inclusive marketplace.
Though New Jersey didn’t provide an exact date for the opening of its legal marijuana marketplace, the state did give a glimpse into what it will look like. Many of these regulations will work in favor of residents from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds, and application fees could cost as low as $100.
New Jersey will prioritize applications to open legal cannabis shops from certain groups. This includes certified minority-, women-, and disabled veteran-owned businesses, and it also includes applicants who live or will operate in one of several designated impact zones or economically disadvantaged areas. Additionally, the state will give priority to applicants with previous marijuana convictions, which would help make up for disparities from the state’s previous marijuana policies.
“The regulations adopted today reflect the CRC’s commitment to transparency and social equity,” Governor Phil Murphy said in a release. “Prioritizing applications from women and minority entrepreneurs, from business owners living in economically-disadvantaged communities, and from small business owners will ensure the market grows the way we envision – in a way that is socially equitable and reflective of our state’s diversity.”
In addition to policies for business owners, New Jersey has instituted a number of rules for consumers, as well. Those aged 21 and older can only purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Driving under the influence of marijuana will be strictly prohibited, as well.
Children won’t be allowed to enter dispensaries once they open, and all products must be sold in child-proof packaging with health warnings. Businesses will also face serious consequences for selling marijuana to underage community members.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.