On Thursday, April 13th, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted to deny the renewal of Curaleaf's annual license to sell recreational marijuana at its Bellmawr and Edgewater Park dispensaries. As a result, Curaleaf, one of the world's largest cannabis companies, will be required to halt all recreational marijuana sales at these dispensaries from April 21st.
Curaleaf operates nearly 150 dispensaries across the United States and has been a major player in the cannabis industry. The company also operates a dispensary in Bordentown, which will continue to sell cannabis to recreational customers. However, the Bellmawr and Edgewater Park dispensaries will only be permitted to serve medical marijuana patients after their licenses expire.
The decision to deny Curaleaf's license renewal came after the company's closure of its Bellmawr cultivation site, which regulators say took them by surprise. Under New Jersey marijuana legalization laws, recreational license holders are required to submit a renewal application at least 90 days before their license expires. In Curaleaf's case, its license was set to expire on April 20th, and the company failed to mention any plans to modify its facilities in its renewal application.
Curaleaf issued a statement accusing the commission of political retaliation, calling the denial of its license renewal an "outrageous act." However, the commission cited concerns over the lack of proper notice of major changes to facility operations. Cannabis Regulatory Commission Chair Dianna Houenou, who abstained from voting, said she was concerned about the layoff announcement that was made last month before any information was provided to the commission about the company's plans to close the Bellmawr cultivation site.
James Shorris, Curaleaf's chief compliance officer, said he wasn't sure of the exact timing when asked whether Curaleaf was already contemplating the move when it filed its renewal application. However, he said that the decision was made due to demand in the cannabis market that the newer Winslow facility could meet. The Winslow facility is a state-of-the-art facility producing high-quality flower at a very efficient rate and all of the considerations that go into managing a process and trying to mitigate costs where they can to keep prices down, according to Shorris.
Thirty-five of the 40 employees working at the Bellmawr cultivation center were offered new jobs, he said. The remaining five employees were not due to job performance or other issues, he said. The issue seemed to encapsulate a problem the state's cannabis regulators have complained about since the commission was established: companies are required to make regular reports detailing how they're trying to tackle certain issues in the cannabis industry, such as tackling social equity and continuing to prioritize medical marijuana patients.
NJ's decision to deny Curaleaf's license renewal has caused the company to lose the right to sell legal weed to recreational customers at two of its dispensaries. This event highlights the importance of timely and proper notice of major changes in operations and the need for companies to make regular reports detailing how they're addressing industry issues.
This article was first reported by app.com