On Wednesday, January 18, 2024, the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (the “CRC”) approved regulations to allow cannabis consumption lounges where consumers will be able to buy and use cannabis products on-site.

Pursuant to the regulations, consumption lounges will NOT be able to sell food or alcohol, but adults 21 and older will be permitted to bring their own food or have it delivered if the local government allows it. Additionally, medical cannabis patients will be permitted to bring their own marijuana products to the consumption lounges.

Businesses will be limited to owning one (1) social use license, regardless of how many dispensaries they operate. There would be a $1,000 fee for microbusinesses to obtain a consumption area license and a $5,000 fee for standard businesses.

Per the CRC, the application process will involve exclusivity periods for social equity and diversely owned businesses.

Members also have said they expect the addition of cannabis consumption areas will have a positive economic benefit for the state by generating more tax revenue from marijuana sales and annual fees.

The CRC also approved 70 new adult-use cannabis licenses, including retailers, manufacturers, cultivators and delivery services.

Parting Hits – While many in the industry lament the pace of play the CRC sets, in all fairness, while a year may seem like a long time (i.e., the original draft regulations were released a year ago), the CRC moved this down the playing field and executed on the enactment to permit adult use consumption lounges in a rather crisp and quick manner.

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