US (NJ): Cannabis agency to give priority to social equity businesses for some licenses

The agency overseeing New Jersey’s cannabis market made a move Thursday that aims to increase the number of cannabis businesses run by people with prior convictions for cannabis offenses or who live in economically disadvantaged parts of the state.

For one year starting Sept. 27, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will accept requests for certain licenses — wholesaler, distributor, and delivery service class licenses  — only from so-called social equity applicants, the commission decided at its Thursday meeting.

Commissioner Charles Barker moved to take action, saying not enough has been done since the state’s recreational cannabis market debuted in April 2022 to help entrepreneurs who the drug war has hurt.

“Based on our current framework, I don’t believe social equity businesses — those most harmed by the failed war on drugs, that represents the people and communities that we want to see in the game — they’re not seeming to make it through the process to be considered for an award, let alone open up a business,” Barker said.


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