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New Jersey cannabis regulators will allow Curaleaf to renew its recreational license

“As we said after the decision [last week], this was an arbitrary decision without legal merit, and that’s been demonstrated with the board’s new decision today,” Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin said.


Nick Vadala Published April 17, 2023


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Customers buying recreational cannabis at Curaleaf during the opening day for recreational cannabis sales in New Jersey in April 2022.ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

by Nick VadalaPublished April 17, 2023


New Jersey cannabis regulators on Monday voted to allow Curaleaf to continue selling recreational marijuana in the state — with certain conditions — vacating an earlier decision to deny its license renewal.

The move comes following a meeting last week when the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) board stripped the company of its ability to serve recreational customers in the state. That decision would have impacted Curaleaf’s adult-use sales at least two dispensary locations in Edgewater Park and Bellmawr, as well as the company’s ability to grow recreational marijuana, on April 21 — the one-year anniversary of the launch of legal recreational weed in New Jersey.

“As we said after the decision [last week], this was an arbitrary decision without legal merit, and that’s been demonstrated with the board’s new decision today,” Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin said.

The CRC previously denied Curaleaf’s recreational license renewal because of the closure of a cultivation facility in Bellmawr, resulting in layoffs for 40 employees. The company has also been accused of interfering with unionizing efforts, which is a violation of a provision of New Jersey’s cannabis law that requires businesses to maintain a labor peace agreement and negotiate collective bargaining agreements within 200 days of unionization. Had the decision taken effect, the board’s previous decision would have had a “ripple effect” on New Jersey’s cannabis market from product availability to pricing, Darin said. The company, he added, has the largest market share in the state’s cannabis market, and its products are “carried on virtually every shelf in the state.”

“This would have impacted our ability to produce adult-use products, which would have had a major impact on the market in New Jersey,” Darin said. The CRC’s new decision, he added “gives us certainty that we can continue to operate as we have been, which is the result that we were seeking.”

The CRC’s reversal came on the same day Curaleaf employees and supporters organized a protest in Trenton. About 100 people attended the protest, which lasted for roughly two hours, a company spokesperson said, adding that more than 1,500 New Jersey residents contacted 110 state representatives asking that the decision be reversed.

Now, per the CRC board’s vote, the company’s recreational license can be renewed under certain conditions, CRC chair Dianna Houenou said at Monday’s meeting. Those conditions include Curaleaf providing the CRC with “evidence of good faith efforts to negotiate for collective bargaining agreements at each facility,” as well as details about any modifications to its operations in New Jersey, and updated information about “good faith efforts” to hire employees and contractors. Curaleaf will also have to testify under oath “to its activities and tactics,” Houenou said.

Curaleaf, Houenou said, will have to provide that information by the CRC’s next regular meeting in June. If it does not, the company could face penalties, including fines or a loss of its renewed license.

Houenou approved the motion to vacate the board’s previous decision and renew the company’s recreational license, as did commissioners Maria Del Cid-Kosso, Sam Delgado, and Krista Nash. Commissioner Charles Barker voted no.

The vote, Houenou said, rendered an earlier motion from Curaleaf requesting a stay on the decision moot. The emergency meeting lasted about 10 minutes.

In a statement on Monday, Nash called the decision a “second chance to course correct” for Curaleaf.

“At this juncture, the cannabis industry in this state is at a crossroads,” Nash said. “Either we hold true to the law and protect the hard working men and women of New Jersey who want fair wages and working conditions, or we can reward bad behavior and ignore these mandates for the sake of money and profits.”


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