As the saying about actual property goes, it’s all about “location, location, location.” The similar rule holds true and carries substantial weight when figuring out the place to find your online business in the aggressive New Jersey hashish licensing course of – each for medical, and as anticipated to proceed in the grownup use hashish program. As a end result, a typical query we as practitioners are requested is “what towns should I be looking in?” So why does location matter in the hashish licensing course of in New Jersey, and, most significantly, the place do you have to be trying?

In phrases of why location issues, the quick reply is that location is all the time taken into consideration throughout New Jersey’s aggressive licensing course of. Starting with the medical program, it is very important keep in mind that by Statute the state’s medical hashish program (and the place a licensee is sited) is damaged down by area. The Northern Region contains “the Counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren.” The Central Region contains “the counties of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union.” The Southern Region contains “the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem.”

But why does that matter? Well, for starters, every of the final two requests for purposes (“RFAs”) issued by the New Jersey Department of Health (“DOH”) have restricted the variety of licenses that an applicant can win, the variety of purposes which may be submitted, in addition to the variety of license varieties which may be awarded inside a person area. For occasion, as a part of the 2018 RFA, the place the one licenses obtainable have been vertically built-in, candidates have been permitted to file just one utility per applicant per area, whereas additionally requiring the applicant to notice (all issues being equal) what area they would like to be positioned in. This created the fascinating consequence whereby the highest scoring applicants in all three (3) areas typically overlapped. Given the regional preferences recognized by the entities inside their purposes, the six (6) winners have been distributed accordingly.

This resulted in a change to the applying course of as a part of the 2019 RFA, whereby these in search of vertically built-in licenses have been permitted to submit just one (1) utility and, in doing so, choose just one (1) area to be apply in. This resulted in forcing candidates to assume critically about not solely the place they wished to web site and find, but in addition the strategic impediments related to that call. For occasion, candidates needed to ask themselves, who’s the competitors in search of to use in every chosen area? Would extra candidates be making use of in the North, Central, or South, and, in flip, which area provides me the perfect aggressive benefit? Where am I almost certainly to acquire native municipal approval in a truncated utility timeline? All of those questions, and extra, made the strategic choice on web site choice all of the extra vital as a part of the 2019 RFA.

The different fascinating change to the 2019 RFA that impacted location was the implementation of recent stand-alone permits for dispensary and cultivation (because the State slowly strikes away from vertically built-in solely licenses). In whole, twenty-four (24) licenses have been solicited as a part of the 2019 RFA, consisting of 4 (4) vertically built-in licenses (with a mandate that at the very least one (1) vertical be sited in every of the three (3) areas), 5 (5) cultivation permits (with two (2) to be cited in each the North and Central, and one (1) in the South), and fifteen (15) dispensary permits (break up evenly with 5 (5) per area).

The 2019 RFA made clear that affected person want and entry was paramount in calculating license awards. For occasion, for the fourth (4) free-floating vertical license, the DOH recognized that the Region the place it might be positioned was to be “determined during award process based on overall score and patient need at the time of award.” Similarly, the applying itself had particularly requested for an “[e]xplanation of how the proposed dispensary location expands access to patients and caregivers.” Indeed, in figuring out web site suitability for the needs of purposes, the DOH takes into consideration (which can proceed as this system transitions to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (“CRC”)) present operators, present product strains supplied by these operators, and a geographic evaluation of the affected person inhabitants. Armed with that data, the DOH makes use of a proprietary algorithm to evaluate how the applicant’s proposed web site will increase affected person entry and reduces general drive time. Understanding New Jersey’s community of roadways and highways, the distribution of affected person populations, and the native political and social atmospheres of New Jersey are pivotal for understanding the place finest to find.

Though the grownup use enabling laws has but to be finalized, the CRC will equally be tasked with making certain that there are sufficient licensed amenities state-wide by making an allowance for a method involving geographic inhabitants range and the distribution of present amenities, amongst different components. Similarly, sure license lessons envisioned beneath the grownup use program have geographic limitations constructed into their construction. Take for example microbusinesses, the place 51% of the homeowners, administrators, officers, or staff of the enterprise have to be residents of the municipality the place the enterprise is positioned.

So, what cities ought to I be trying in? The quick reply is that New Jersey is one state with 565 totally different personalities. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of cities have nonetheless but to publicly state their place on whether or not they are going to allow hashish companies, not to mention the place in the person municipality will probably be permitted. Entrepreneurs will sadly oftentimes begin their search with the restricted numbers of municipalities which have publicly spoken on the problem, i.e., Phillipsburg, Paterson, Secaucus, Montclair, Elizabeth, Union, Woodbridge, Eatontown, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor, Vineland, Bellmawr, Ewing, and Cranbury. The downside, for the explanations mentioned above, is that the DOH has already sited amenities there, and thus, any applicant will instantaneously be up in opposition to the argument as to how a web site expands affected person entry when sufferers have already got entry inside that municipality. Other municipalities, comparable to Newark, allow hashish companies, however solely inside specified districts, and, relying on the kind of license, solely as a conditional use.

The previous is a longwinded means of claiming {that a} city’s public receptiveness to hashish should not be the one inquiry thought of when figuring out the place to find your hashish enterprise – not to mention in figuring out how that web site will support the applicant in successful a aggressive license. Moreover, and as prior and current drafts of adult-use laws have made clear, municipalities must cross new ordinances on the permissibility of grownup use hashish amenities, no matter whether or not they have beforehand handed ordinances addressing the subject. The evaluation on what cities to find in should bear in mind bigger and larger points than merely simply what cities are receptive to it – and must be assessed holistically in reference to the general targets, goals, and technique of the applicant.

For additional data on how one can strategize these targets and goals, please be happy to contact Michael C. McQueenyErica RiceKevin ConroyJesse Alderman, or any of Foley Hoag’s skilled hashish attorneys.


Source link