Different Recreational Cannabis Licenses Available in New Jersey

November 07, 2022

By Eric Altstadter

Launched in April 2022, the New Jersey recreational cannabis market has already been a success. However, according to a September 2022 study by cannabis information resource group Leafly,  there is only one store per 358,000 residents. It would seem there’s still opportunity for growth.

To open and operate a cannabis-related business within New Jersey, whether it’s medical or recreational, a specific state-distributed license is required. These licenses are reviewed via an open application process through the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Currently, as per the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act, there are six types of licenses a business owner can apply for. Different applications are subject to different requirements and fees.

License Type Authorized Activity
Class 1
Cannabis Cultivator
Grow recreational-use cannabis
Class 2
Cannabis Manufacturer
Produce and process recreational-use cannabis products
Class 3
Cannabis Wholesaler
Store, sell or otherwise transfer recreational-use cannabis products between cannabis cultivators, wholesalers, or retailers
Class 4
Cannabis Distributor
Transport recreational-use cannabis items in bulk between cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, or retailers within the state of New Jersey 
Class 5
Cannabis Retailer
Purchase recreational-use cannabis from licensed cultivators, manufacturers, or wholesalers and sell those items to consumers in a retail store
Class 6
Cannabis Delivery
Transport a consumer’s purchases of recreational-use cannabis and related supplies from the retailer to that consumer
Conditional Use Licenses Begin building out operations for the cultivation, manufacture, dispensing, wholesale, distribution, or delivery of recreational-use cannabis while working toward meeting the requirements for the license

There is no cap on the number of licenses the state can issue nor a deadline for applications, though Class 1 Cultivation Licenses are limited to 37 until February 22, 2023, when more can be issued.

Currently, local municipalities can opt out or prohibit the operation of one or more cannabis-related licensing activities. The state recommends contacting your local municipal government for more information on what types of operations are permitted in their jurisdiction.

Applicants which are considered social equity businesses, diversly owned businesses, and impact-zone businesses are prioritized and reviewed before other applicants, regardless of the submission date. Microbusinesses, those with 10 or fewer employees and with up to 2,500 square feet, will also be prioritized and, if approved, can expand their operations to meet demand.

If you’re looking to apply for or learn more about New Jersey’s different cannabis licenses, visit the state’s Cannabis Regulation Commission website.

About Eric Altstadter

Eric Altstadter CPA is an Audit Partner and Chair of the firm's Cannabis and Hemp practice with over 30 years of experience working with public companies and privately held businesses