Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) has been granted permission to continue selling recreational marijuana at all its New Jersey locations after state regulators reversed a Friday decision that would have significantly restricted the company’s sales outlets.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission held an emergency meeting on Monday to reconsider Curaleaf’s application for the renewal of its recreational marijuana cultivation and sales licenses.
By the time a Trenton pro-business rally by some Curaleaf employees and those within its public relations arm, Mattio, opposing the previous decision ended, the commission renewed five annual licenses for the company, albeit with certain conditions attached.
Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin praised the decision by the CRC board, calling it a “significant victory” for the company’s 500 New Jersey employees.
He called it a “vindication for what we knew all along: Curaleaf is in good standing with the CRC and has fulfilled every requirement necessary for the renewal of our licenses.”
The reversal on Monday followed meetings between Curaleaf executives and commission members, according the New Jersey Monitor.
The approval was secured with four votes in favor, one against, and no discussion, with the meeting lasting only seven minutes.
Join me and team @mattiocomms tomorrow in Trenton to protest the New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Decision to Deny License Renewal for @Curaleaf_Inc.
There are over 500 jobs at risk and people’s livelihoods are at stake…
10:30 am @225 East State Street, Trenton.…
— Rosie Mattio (@RosieMattio) April 16, 2023
Previously, only one commission member, Samuel Delgado, had supported the renewal of Curaleaf’s licenses.
Dianna Houneou, the commission’s chair, told the outlet that by the commission’s next meeting, Curaleaf must demonstrate good faith bargaining with union employees and swear to its “activities and tactics.”
The company must also provide documentation regarding changes to its New Jersey operations and information on hiring employees and vendors that meet specific criteria.
If Curaleaf fails to meet these conditions by the June 1 meeting, the board may impose penalties, such as fines, or revoke the renewed licenses, according to Houneou.
During last Thursday’s meeting, some commissioners who voted against or abstained from voting on Curaleaf’s licenses expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s conflict with workers attempting to unionize and its transparency with the state.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support us today! We will continue to work with the CRC Board and aggressively pursue the renewal of our licenses. $CURA $CURLF pic.twitter.com/Ui754QTnsC
— Matt Darin (@darin_matt) April 17, 2023
Commissioner Krista Nash told the Monitor on Monday that last week’s vote served as a reminder for companies to prioritize their responsibilities concerning labor relations.
She emphasized that New Jersey’s marijuana legalization law outlines labor provisions for cannabis companies, including the maintenance of a labor-peace agreement and contract negotiation within 200 days once workers vote to unionize.
The requirement intentionally inserted by lawmakers is “not a challenge for companies to find a loophole in the law. It is an explicit mandate,” Nash said.
“People have different definitions of what ‘maintain’ means. If you maintain your car, I don’t know if that means letting it sit in a garage. But it doesn’t mean, in this term, filing an agreement away in a drawer, but rather to implement the terms of what parties agreed to do,” she added.
Nash said her decision last week was influenced by public testimony from Curaleaf workers and union organizers alleging the company’s noncompliance with the law.
The denial of the renewals came as a surprise to cannabis advocates and industry insiders, but it was applauded by the company’s critics.
No I spoke to my friend who works at the Bellmawr store and she said that there are laying off like 50 people. All of which were given a choice to go work in Winslow and they denied.
— Vincent Joseph (@vinflip914) April 16, 2023
Without the commission’s approval for annual licenses, recreational marijuana sales would have been halted at two of Curaleaf’s three retail locations as of Thursday, one of the largest sales days for the industry.
At the April 13 meeting, Curaleaf representatives highlighted the company’s tax revenue generation and job creation in the state.
As the vote tallied away from the company’s favor, board members reiterated concerns about the accuracy of the materials provided by Curaleaf, layoffs without proper notice, and the need for more transparency.
Curaleaf previously has faced lawsuits and allegations of labor law violations, including union busting and withholding employee tips.