New Jersey marijuana regulators gave the initial thumbs up to a huge expansion of the state’s edibles market, and at the same meeting issued sizable fines to two of the largest cannabis companies in the nation for rule violations.
At its meeting Friday, the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted to reverse a longstanding ban on baked goods and other common forms of THC-infused edibles. Previously, the only types of non-smokable marijuana goods were syrups, pills, tablets, capsules, and chewables, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Although the new rules allowing a broader array of ingestible cannabis goods don’t kick in until December, the commission took steps to let manufacturers start production to meet expected demand.
“We can start taking submissions next week” for the manufacturing waivers, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said during the meeting.
In the same meeting, the CRC also voted to sanction multistate operators TerrAscend (TSX: TSND) (OTCQX: TSNDF) and Columbia Care (OTC: CCHWF) (Cboe: CCHW) to the tune of $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, according to NJ.com.
CRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou pushed for the six-figure fine on TerrAscend because of the “rampant issue” of the company “not offering all advertised cannabis products to medicinal patients.”
Houenou noted that “aggravating or mitigating factors,” including TerrAscend’s failure to provide training records related to the corrective actions, led her to the figure.
She said that TerrAscend had been notified of the problem in January, but the company made no effort to rectify the situation, despite similar reported violations at three different TerrAscend dispensaries.
“This demonstrates that TerrAscend’s problem is not an isolated event, nor is it a simple mistake made by one employee,” Houenou said.
TerrAscend said in a statement that the company “has a deep history of compliance in New Jersey, as this is the first violation of any type we’ve received in our four years of operating in the state.” The company continued:
In June 2023, we were informed that the CRC had received 5 medical patient complaints related to the fact that certain products were listed only on our adult-use menu. While these patients were still able to purchase these products, it violated a CRC requirement that all products available on our adult-use menu must also be listed on our medical menu. Once informed of this deviation, TerrAscend took immediate action to refine product listing procedures, including IT improvements and further employee training to ensure full compliance with these requirements. We share in the CRC’s focus on ensuring that New Jersey’s medical patients are treated with the priority and care they deserve.
Columbia Care was penalized for allowing its labor peace agreement to expire, NJ.com reported. Commissioner Krista Nash said the lapse warranted a strong response from regulators.
“They’ve been here a long time, and they’ve been operating in other states, we just happened to rightfully place a strong emphasis on labor, and I think people need to get that here if they want to do business in New Jersey,” Nash said of the $50,000 fine on Columbia Care.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify the basis for the fine levied against TerrAscend and to expand on TerrAscend’s response.