Trenton — New Jersey CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Scott Rudder and Bill Caruso, NJCBA General Counsel, Partner at Archer & Greiner, Chair of Archer’s Cannabis Practice, issued the following statements today regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the implementation of recreational cannabis, at which both are scheduled to testify:
NJCBA President Scott Rudder
“Every state that has launched a cannabis industry faces significant challenges getting started. This is not unique to New Jersey. Despite these challenges, we are miles ahead of where we were just four years ago, when litigation created significant delays in the cannabis license approval process. The biggest challenges now are with applicants trying to identify funding and properties in municipalities that have opted in. This has been further complicated by a changing economic landscape, where inflation and interest rates have gone up, making access to capital even more challenging. Where we once thought a conditional license would generate a strong investment opportunity, today’s economy reality makes that difficult.
“Some of these challenges are the unintended consequences of our own making, as they are due in large part to the legislation and corresponding regulations that we collectively worked on and discussed. Unless and until that changes, we need to reexamine what we deem to be success from New Jersey’s perspective. That means moving away from viewing the number of conditional licenses awarded as a success marker, and instead viewing it through how many applicants we can get across the finish line that can open their doors and create the jobs New Jersey wants to see.
“We at the NJCBA have heard the frustrations of those going through the process. But the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which is still a fairly new regulatory body, is executing the mandate they have been given. We have made significant strides in a short amount of time and we will continue that progress. I have no doubt that lessons learned now will lead to improvements that can be adopted to speed up the process, under the CRC’s guidance.”
Bill Caruso, NJCBA General Counsel
“For years, New Jersey deliberated over creating a safe, regulated adult-use market for cannabis with a focus on social and racial equity. New Jersey has begun to deliver on that promise, creating a blended industry that incorporates existing vertical operators transitioning from medical in addition to new adult-use licenses with priority status granted to social and racial equity candidates. While illegality at the federal level, access to capital, and available real estate in cannabis-approved towns remain as some of the challenges to success, the Legislature and administration are finding ways to mitigate those impacts.”
About The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association
The NJCBA’s mission is to promote jobs and growth in a sustainable and responsible cannabis industry. Starting with the pioneers in the medical cannabis market to the emerging players in the adult-use space, the NJCBA’s focus is to make certain that decision-makers and regulators understand and respect the needs of the CannaBusiness community and that our community remain responsible corporate citizens.