New Jersey Archives - Green Market Report

StaffStaffDecember 17, 2019
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6min4440

On Monday, lawmakers in New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly approved a resolution for full legalization in November 2020. The politicians came close in 2019 to writing legislation that would legalize adult use cannabis, but ultimately failed and were unable to pass any laws. By punting, the voters will now decide whether to legalize cannabis for adults’ use in November 2020.

Last month, Senate President Steve Sweeney proposed a voter referral to directly legalize cannabis. That resolution passed in both legislative chambers with supermajority support, with the Senate voting 24-16 in favor and the Assembly voting 49-24-1 in favor of the resolution.

Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project said, “While we are disappointed the legislature did not directly legalize marijuana, we are optimistic that 2020 will be the year New Jersey replaces its eight-decade-long experiment with marijuana prohibition with a more thoughtful and humane approach. Marijuana prohibition has derailed thousands of lives in New Jersey, while driving marijuana production and sales to the sometimes dangerous illicit market. Only with adult-use legalization can the state regulate cannabis to protect workers, communities, and consumers.”

If voters pass the legislation next November, New Jersey would become the 12th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.  The decision to allow voters to decide on legalization comes as several other states along the East Coast grapple with full legalization. Massachusetts has already taken the plunge, while Connecticut and New York have been slow to react.

Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “Given the legislature’s inability to pass marijuana regulation on its own, referring the question to the ballot is at least a way for legislators to begin responding to their constituents, 62% of which support legalization. In addition to putting the question before voters, it’s critical that policymakers also incorporate measures to repair the harms of prohibition in implementing legislation going forward. Expungement of past marijuana-related offenses is a key component of that, and it’s encouraging that policymakers are making progress on that front.”

Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project said, “Legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana is the cannabis policy New Jersey deserves. It is unacceptable to accept the status quo of prohibition that continues to negatively impact countless lives and communities. I am hopeful that New Jerseyans will vote in favor of adult-use legalization in 2020.”

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtNovember 18, 2019
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4min12000

Acreage Holdings, Inc. (“Acreage”) (CSE: ACRG.U) (OTC: ACRGF) is buying New Jersey’s  Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc. which is a vertically integrated cannabis nonprofit corporation. The deal is subject to state approval and the amount of the deal was not disclosed. However, the state of New Jersey did state that Compassionate Care reported $4.9 million in revenue in 2018, badly trailing Curaleaf’s $19 million in revenue for 2018.

“I’m thrilled to finally welcome CCF into the Acreage family,” said Kevin Murphy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Acreage.  “This reorganization will result in increased access to affordable medical cannabis for New Jersey’s existing patients in short order.  Moreover, we have long believed that upon adult-use legalization, the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions will be the preeminent cannabis market in the U.S. and Acreage is best positioned of any U.S. cannabis company to benefit.”

New Jersey Needs More Dispensaries

The Biennial Report issued in April 2019 from the state of New Jersey said, “The Department estimates that in 3 years New Jersey will need between 440,000 and 1,000,000 square feet of licensed cultivation capacity to meet
growing demand – or between 25 and 50 cultivation sites, depending on average size of site.” It went on to say, ” In New Jersey, there are 1.5 million people per open dispensary, whereas the aggregate average of population per dispensary in other states was roughly 100,000 people per dispensary. If New Jersey was at the average, the state would have 90 medical dispensaries to serve our population. Conclusion: The analysis strongly supports the need for additional dispensary sites in New Jersey.”

The report also noted that in both 2017 and 2018, Compassionate Care Foundation had the highest medical cannabis discounts, with discounts averaging between 16% and 17% per ounce.

CCF Assets

According to the company statement, Compassionate Care has licenses for cultivation, manufacturing & processing, and three retail dispensaries.

Cultivation: CCF operates one of New Jersey’s largest indoor growing facilities, primarily for high end flower, in Egg Harbor, NJ.  Acreage and CCF are planning to expand this facility to serve the existing demand for medical cannabis and in anticipation of adult-use legalization, and to build out a robust wholesale business.

Retail Dispensary Operations: CCF has the potential to operate three retail dispensaries, one of which is currently in operation in Egg Harbor.  An additional dispensary is under construction in Atlantic City as The Botanist, and an letter of intent has been signed for another The Botanist dispensary in Williamstown, NJ.

CCF Trails Competition

The Biennial report also stated that when looking at total inventory, neither Greenleaf Compassion Center nor Compassionate Care Foundation eclipsed 200 lbs of total product from June to December of 2018. “During the study period, Compassionate Care Foundation had a range of between 12 and 102 lbs of product onhand and an average of 41 lbs, while Greenleaf had a range between 5 and 12 lbs of product on hand and an average of 8 lbs on-hand.
Every other ATC in New Jersey had an average inventory of close to or over 500 lbs during same time period.”

 


StaffStaffMarch 25, 2019
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7min9200

A vote was planned in New Jersey for the legalization of adult use cannabis, but a lack of votes caused the legislation to be postponed until a later date – possibly November. The proposed legislation, which many expected to be passed today, would have allowed adults 21 and over to consumer, purchase and possess cannabis from licensed retailers.

Nik Komyati, Chair of the Cannabis Practice Group of the law firm Bressler, Amery & Ross, based in Florham Park, NJ said, “I am very disappointed by today’s decision to not hold a vote on the three cannabis bills.  The overwhelming public safety and social justice issues these bills address are reason alone to get the ball across the goal line. When you add in the potential jobs and tax revenues that this emerging industry brings, this delay does nothing but hurt the state and its constituents.  That said, it is just a delay and I expect that these bills will be revisited in the next few months.”

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted in favor of legalization bills. NJ Advance Media was the first to report Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) called off the vote. Apparently, it became clear the Senate — the upper house of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature — would remain a handful of votes shy of the minimum 21 needed for passage.

“While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy,” said Sweeney, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “This fight is not over. We need to learn from this experience and continue to move forward. While this legislation is not advancing today, I remain committed to its passage.”

The Governor and other politicians had wanted to secure legalization through the legislative process versus a ballot initiative. One issue holding back the agreement on legislation was how the state planned to tax cannabis. Once that was agreed upon, it seemed the law would move forward. The bill also included a number of social equity provisions and it also dealt with expedited expungements for prior cannabis convictions.

NORML Political Associate Tyler McFadden said, “Voters and lawmakers both agree that the practice of treating marijuana consumers as second-class citizens must end. Unfortunately, legislative intransigence regarding how best to create a regulatory framework has resulted in, at least for now, a continuation of the failed policy of marijuana criminalization in the Garden State.” She added, “It should be acknowledged that, to date, no state has taken legislative action to regulate the adult use marijuana market. In every jurisdiction where regulations exist, they were enacted by a direct vote of the citizenry. Based on current polling in NewJersey, we have little doubt that, if provided the opportunity, Garden State voters would take similar action.” 62% of voters in New Jersey approve of legalization.

On the opposite side of the fence, Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM NY) President Dr. Kevin Sabet said, “Lawmakers in New Jersey heard the pleas of parents, health professionals, law enforcement and others and blocked this bill. The chairman of the State Senate’s Black Caucus, Senator Ron Rice deserves credit for his leadership to prevent Big Marijuana from targeting, exploiting and victimizing minority and low-income communities.”

Current Market

There are currently five medical dispensaries for the state. The state’s sixth and final cultivation license was awarded to Harmony Foundation in 2017. While the Governor has a more relaxed approach than his predecessor, the state’s residents are known to be more conservative and the response to legalization has been decidedly mixed. There were roughly 32,051 patients registered in 2018 and that number is expected to increase to 51,281 in 2019. $97 million was spent in 2018 and that is projected to increase to $157 million in 2019 according to a report by Arcview.


StaffStaffFebruary 18, 2019
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4min10030

Multiple news outlets have reported that Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislative leaders had reached an agreement with regards to legalizing adult use cannabis in the state of New Jersey. The state leaders had been negotiating about taxation for months after the newly elected Governor said he wanted to legalize adult use cannabis.

Legislative sources told the media that the rumored deal involved taxing cannabis by the ounce versus a sales tax, which seemed to be the point of contention.  State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the prime sponsor of the legalization bill, said: “We don’t have a final deal.” Scutari told NJ Advance Media on Friday night. “There still are more details to be worked out, but the two sticking points (taxes and a commission regulating the industry), we are there. But we are not finalized.”

The New Jersey Globe reported, “The governor’s office and legislative leadership are in the process of counting votes now and neither side is expected to make any announcement [until] they are fully confident that they have the support to pass the measure.”

Accelerate Cannabis

On Tuesday evening, February 19,  Accelerate Cannabis is hosting an event from 5 to 9 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. New Jersey legislative insiders, representatives from the federal level, and international experts in investment and trading will be in attendance. Organizers of the event noted that a representative from Senator Cory Booker’s office hs just agreed to address our audience as well.

Organized by the team at Longview Strategic, presentations include cannabis specialists including policymakers regulators, strategists, entrepreneurs, attorneys, financial experts and more. The panel topics reflect the thoughts and questions of New Jersey residents: “New Jersey Legislative Updates,” “New Jersey’s Medical Program Expansion,” “Economics and Investment Perspectives,” “Products and Innovations,” and much more.

“The panelists are pioneers with experience in the field and they know nuances in this emergent industry here in New Jersey,” said Ellie Siegel, CEO, and Founder of Longview Strategic. “While the education and policy components are top-notch, Accelerate Cannabis will offer terrific networking opportunities for anyone interested in the business of cannabis.” Siegel said that consultants, local government experts, and cannabis brand leaders will discuss how New Jersey is prepared for adult-use legislation and the expansion of the medical program.

Some of the panelists include Chris Driessen, President of Organa Brands, which recently went public in a merger with Slang Worldwide (SLNG), Evan Eneman, Co-founder of Ello and a former managing partner at Casa Verde Capital, Kristin Jordan Senior Counsel at Greenspoon Marder, Bridget Hill-Zayat an attorney at the cannabis law firm Hoban Law, Michael Markarian, CEO of Contempo Specialty Packaging, and Dasheeda Dawson
Founder, CEO & President of MJM Strategy to name a few.

Tickets are $299 and available online.

MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY: Cheryl Squadrito, Cheryl@LongviewStrategic.com 856-816-5570.

Editors Note: Green Market Report is a media partner for the Accelerate Cannabis Event.


StaffStaffNovember 27, 2018
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5min11250

On Monday, the New Jersey Legislature advanced a proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S2703, sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari, (7-2-4), and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, (6-1-2).

The next step is to send the legislation to the full chambers for a vote. The state’s Governor Phil Murphy has been a big supporter of legalizing and regulating adult use cannabis. Readers can follow the latest in legislative moves on the Green Market Reports Legislation section.

A recent study, conducted by New Jersey Policy Perspective and the ACLU of New Jersey concluded that a fully implemented regulated marijuana marketplace for adults in New Jersey could generate at least over $300 million in additional tax revenue for the state. New Jerseyans currently spend up to an estimated $869 million on marijuana in the illegal marketplace every year.

“New Jersey is one step closer to replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation. Arresting adult cannabis consumers is a massive waste of law enforcement officials’ time and resources, and it does nothing to improve public health or safety,” said Kate M. Bell, general counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Prohibition forces marijuana sales into the underground market, where it is impossible to control them. Under the proposed regulated system, businesses will be governed by strict rules, and authorities will be empowered to make sure those rules are being followed.”

MPP stated that if the bill passes this year, New Jersey will be the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis via the legislature. Such laws have been adopted by voters via ballot initiatives in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers in Vermont and voters in Washington, D.C. have adopted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, but they do not authorize commercial production or sales for adult use.

“We could not be more enthusiastic for our neighbors in New Jersey,” said Ryan Smith of LeafLink. “The vote today for an extended medical and adult use program continues the momentum we are seeing on the East Coast for greater cannabis legalization.  We saw Massachusetts open their adult use program and Pennsylvania and New York are not far behind. The past year we’ve seen California’s adult use market aggressively expand since going live in January, and just last month we saw Michigan become the first Midwest state to adopt an adult use program.”

MPP noted that the amended version of the legislation included the following:

    • allows adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana (one ounce), marijuana-infused products (16 ounces in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form), and marijuana extracts (seven grams), although, unlike most other states to have adopted legalization, the cultivation of any amount of cannabis by adults in their own homes would remain a crime;
    • sets a tax rate of 12 percent of the retail price (including the sales tax), plus an optional local tax of up to 2 percent;
    • provides for five types of regulated marijuana businesses: growers, product manufacturers, wholesalers, testing facilities, and retailers, who can deliver marijuana and some of which may include consumption areas;
    • allows local jurisdictions extensive control over the number and types of businesses in their borders, including the ability to impose local licensing requirements; and
    • establishes a five-member appointed Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which would serve as the regulatory agency overseeing both the new adult-use and the existing medical cannabis programs.

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 12, 2018
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7min33041

It was full speed ahead on marijuana legalization when Governor Phil Murphy was elected this past fall. He said he wanted to see legislation in 100 days after taking office and legalization looked like it was on a fast track. The brakes have since been tapped and the momentum may have stalled. Still, some New Jersey residents are taking this time to prepare themselves because they believe legalization will eventually happen. What form has yet to be determined.

“The governor was very progressive. It was the platform he ran on,” said Ellie Seigel, an attorney and founder of advisory firm Longview Strategic. “Saying it would be out within 100 days, that was ambitious,” she said. Seigel noted that legalization can be an uphill battle on many fronts, even if you have a governor that supports it. Some legislators are trying to keep the momentum going and there are currently ten different bills regarding cannabis for the 2018-19 session. Last week, it was reported by Leafly that New Jersey’s Assembly Oversight Committee heard from experts on cannabis legalization. A sign that some work is continuing to take place.

Still, anti-marijuana forces have mobilized. While medical marijuana is already legal in the state, the program is very restrictive and many seek to keep it that way. They point to a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey that found only 42% of the residents actually approve of legalizing recreational marijuana and 27% want to keep it illegal. Seigel pointed out that the survey only covered 801 people and felt it was too small of a survey population to rely on as accurate.

One group calls itself Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy or RAMP and models itself on the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) run by Kevin Sabet. It is led by Dr. Jethro James, the Senior Pastor of Paradise Baptist Church and is President of the Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen. They have aligned themselves with Senator Ron Rice Sr. of Newark to fight the expansion of legalization. This puts it at odds with many African American groups which usually look at legalization as a way to combat discriminatory incarceration practices for marijuana offenses.

Seigel acknowledged that the New Jersey Democrats were split on how far they would like to go with legalization. Some only want the medical program expanded and some prefer decriminalization. The Governor prefers to see big tax revenue coming in. He estimated it would bring in $300 million for the state, which would be a big boost to the budget.

There continues to be huge interest in legalization from many residents. A recent event held by the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium attracted over 800 people and had to be moved three times to larger venues. Seigel said, “Our mission is to educate the residents of the state and destigmatize marijuana.” The group plans on staging several events as they address questions for many people looking to enter the cannabis industry in the state as it expands no matter what form that takes.

What’s Next

The next milestone in the process is the governors budget address to be held on Tuesday, March 13. If those cannabis dollars that Governor Murphy wants get included, then the gas pedal will be pushed. If Governor Murphy neglects to include cannabis revenue in his budget, then it would be seen as a negative for the industry. On March 24, a report recommending changes to the medical marijuana program is expected to be issued. The Governor had asked that the Department of Health review the medical marijuana program within 60 days and this is the delivery date for that report.

New Jersey Cannabis Symposium

The next event from the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium is geared towards finance and investing. It will be held at NJPAC in Newark March 29 from 4:30-8:30pm. Published panelists include:

● Al Foreman – Partner & CIO at Tuatara Capital
● Cynthia Salarizadeh – Co-founder/Chief Strategy Officer of Green Market Report
● Gary B. Rosen, CPA, CFE, CFF, CVA, CGMA – Partner, Marcum LLP
● Javier Hasse – Cannabis/Biotech Author & Journalist
● John Kagia – Executive Vice President, Industry Analytics at New Frontier Data
● Ellie O. Siegel, Esq., MBA – Founder of Longview Strategic

Justin Zaremba, the editor of NJ CANNABIS INSIDER and Aaron Smith, CNN Money’s Cannabis Reporter, will moderate the panels.

Panel discussions are set to include:
● How to prepare for a capital raise
● Structuring your cap table
● Investment Opportunities in NJ cannabis & Surrounding markets
● Targeting the right kind of funding for your business
● Determining how much capital to raise
● 280E Tax implications
● Deductions for cannabis businesses
● Banking challenges and solutions

To register, featuring Advanced Pricing of $50 off the walk-in price thru March 15, please go to http://www.njcannabissymposium.com. Green Market Report is a marketing partner for the event.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 23, 2018
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4min21880

It was just a week ago that incoming New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in his inauguration speech that he planned to legalize marijuana. The Democrat that replaced anti-cannabis governor Chris Christie said, “A stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces criminal justice reform comprehensively, and that includes a process to legalize marijuana.”

Legislators say they can get a bill to the governors’ desk in 100 days as they fast track the campaign promise. Even the governors’ website says it “will end mass incarceration by pursuing the legalization of marijuana and comprehensively reviewing all criminal sentencing laws.” This quick turnaround has jump-started interest in the state’s marijuana market.

The NJ Cannabis Symposium to be held on Thursday, January 25th has had to move locations three times due to popular demand. Green Market Report is a media partner with the Symposium, which is now planned for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

“As the news about New Jersey’s move towards approving adult use cannabis took on traction with the election of Governor Phil Murphy, we found there was also a lot of misinformation being circulated,” said Brian Staffa of the BSC Group, one of the hosts for the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium. “We see this unique event as a way to draw a roadmap for the months and years ahead, noting unique attributes about NJ’s current program, and drawing comparisons to how other states’ programs have evolved.”

New Jersey has had legal medical marijuana when it was passed in 2010, but under Governor Christie, the program was limited and restrictive. There were only 12,514 patients since the program began with 5,000 coming on in 2016. Only five treatment centers were established.

Who Benefits

The program was designed to appeal to people who are interested in getting involved in the market, which is expected to grow quickly. It was planned by experienced cannabis industry professionals to help people learn what steps to take with regards to finances, application requirements, hiring employees and more.

It will address businesses looking for plant-touching licenses, ancillary businesses and investors looking to assemble teams. By scheduling the event in the evening, most attendees will not miss a day of work in their regular jobs.

“We see this event as a way to detail the required/recommended resources for applicants, and at the same time help ancillary companies to understand the process and needs of applicants, and how they can position themselves to serve the market effectively,” said Joshua Bauchner of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, a law firm co-hosting the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium.

The Lineup

The speakers include:

Brian Staffa Co-Founder & Chief Operator, BSC Group

Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. Partner, Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC

Ellie O. Siegel, Esq.Founder, Longview Strategic

James Minninger Corporate Security Specialist, Viridis Security Group

Gary B. Rosen Partner, NYC Practice Leader, Marcum LLP

Scott Rudder President, New Jersey Cannabusiness Association

Saphira Galoob Founder, The Liaison Group

Marc Perel Arctrust



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