Skip to main content

New Jersey Retailer License: How to Apply

New Jersey finally has an adult-use market in place! Annual sales are expected to exceed $1 billion. Are you interested in starting a dispensary in New Jersey?  In this article, our cannabis business consultants at Quantum 9 explain the process of obtaining a New Jersey retailer license, so that you can open a cannabis dispensary in the state.

First, in order to operate a dispensary in New Jersey, you must obtain a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license that the commission issues for the location at which the cannabis is sold. Quantum 9 are experts in winning licenses, so keep reading for professional guidance on your application.

Market Overview for Retailers in New Jersey

Current medical cannabis dispensaries brought in around $150 million $180 million in sales in 2020. There are currently 15 medical marijuana facilities in New Jersey. This means that each cannabis dispensary is making anywhere $12.5 million to $15 million in revenue yearly.

Keep in mind, there are only 77,000 registered marijuana patients at the moment. New Jersey has a population of 8.8 million people and the demand for marijuana is high. Additionally, revenue for medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey is growing. With New Jerseys’s new adult-use cannabis market, we can expect revenue to skyrocket for those who have a New Jersey retailer license.

Check out where current medical marijuana dispensaries are in New Jersey;

Rules governing New Jersey Retailer Licenses

Let’s begin by discussing what a Class 5 Cannabis Retial License permits you to do.

A New Jersey cannabis retailer shall be authorized to:

  1. Purchase or acquire usable cannabis from cannabis cultivators or cannabis retailers;
  2. Purchase or otherwise obtain cannabis products and related supplies from cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, or cannabis retailers;
  3. Purchase or acquire paraphernalia;
  4. Possess, display, transport, and transfer usable cannabis, cannabis products, paraphernalia, and related supplies;
  5. Distribute, supply, sell, or furnish usable cannabis, cannabis products, paraphernalia, and related supplies to a consumer or to other cannabis retailers.
    1.  A cannabis retailer may furnish usable cannabis, cannabis products, paraphernalia, and related supplies to cannabis business delivery personnel for delivery to a consumer consistent with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 17:30-12.8.
  6. Conduct curbside retail sales

In contrast, a cannabis retailer shall not be authorized to:

  1. Cultivate cannabis, or
    Produce, manufacture, or otherwise create cannabis products.
A cannabis retailer shall only sell cannabis items directly to a consumer.

Also, a microbusiness cannabis retailer shall acquire no more than 1,000 pounds of usable cannabis, or the equivalent amount in any form of cannabis product, or any combination thereof, for retail sale to consumers each month.

In addition to the requirements above, the commission is to adopt rules that:

  • Provide for the annual renewal of a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer License in New Jersey.
  • Additionally, the commission establishes application, licensure, and renewal of licensure fees for a cannabis retailer. This is in accordance with the rules within the bill.
  • Lastly, the commission shall require a cannabis retailer in New Jersey to meet any public health and safety standards. This also includes industry best practices and all applicable regulations that the commission establishes. Contact our cannabis consultants in New Jersey for additional help on this part of the application. This can make or break a cannabis application so it is important that you work with a reliable cannabis consultant.

Consumption Areas

A licensed cannabis retailer can operate a cannabis consumption area at which the on-premises consumption of cannabis items either obtained from the retailer or brought by a person to the consumption may occur. With that, each licensed cannabis retailer can only have one cannabis consumption area in operation.

Additionally, this cannabis consumption area may be an indoor structurally enclosed area within the licensed cannabis retailer that is separate from the area in which retail sales of cannabis items occur. Or, the consumption are can be an exterior structure on the same premises as the retailer. This can either be separate from or connected to the retailer.

Finally, if you have a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license that is approved for a cannabis consumption area can transfer cannabis items purchased by a person in its retail establishment to the person within the cannabis consumption area.

If you have a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license in New Jersey, you can not transfer to the consumption area a number of cannabis items that exceed the limits made by the commission.

Contact us for more information about this license type.

Home Delivery

Our New Jersey Cannabis Consultants want to emphasize that home deliver of cannabis is legal in New Jersey.

More specifically, a license-holder holding a Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license may be authorized by a cannabis retailer to deliver cannabis items to consumers on behalf of that cannabis retailer.

Also, as approved by the Commission and pursuant to paragraph (j) of N.J.S.A. 24:6I-44, on behalf of a cannabis retailer, cannabis business delivery personnel or a cannabis delivery service may deliver cannabis to a consumer at a residence.

Interestingly, cannabis retailers may engage in delivery in any region and may institute geographic and hourly restrictions on where and when they opt to deliver to consumers.

However, orders must be placed in advance, and cannabis items shall be assembled for delivery at the cannabis retailer premises.

How many Retailer Licenses are Available in New Jersey?

The commission in New Jersey is to determine the maximum amount of licenses. With that, 35 percent of the licenses shall be conditional licenses. 25 percent of the total number of licenses, which includes conditional licenses, are designated for microbusinesses.

Additionally, the commission is to issue a sufficient amount of licenses in order to meet the market demands of New Jersey.  The commission is to make requests for new applications for additional licenses as deemed necessary.

How Do I get a Retailer License in New Jersey?

First and foremost, it is important to work with a reliable cannabis consultant in order to have a chance in the application pool. Consultants will create a cannabis business plan that will include information that is vital to an application. This information includes and is not limited to:

  • Operation plans
  • Security plans
  • Labor compliance plans
  • Environmental plans

For more information about what specific information should be within these plans, click here.

Our cannabis consultants in New Jersey at Quantum 9 have plentiful experience in creating these plans. Contact us if you want to open a dispensary in New Jersey.

In order to obtain a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license, you must:

  • First, submit for a conditional or annual license;
  • Secondly, you have to have at least one significantly involved person within the application who has resided in New Jersey for at least 2 years of the date of the application.
  • Thirdly, you must have almost everyone within that application get a background check. So, this includes any owner, other than an owner who holds less than five percent investment interest in the cannabis retailer in New Jersey. Also, this includes a member of the group that holds less than a 20 percent investment interest in the cannabis retailer. With that, no member of that group holds more than five percent interest in the total group investment. This person also must lack authority in decision-making related to the cannabis retailer’s operations.

For an in-depth breakdown of the application process, please refer to this article from our New Jersey Cannabis Consultants.

What are the Application Fees?

The application fees for a cannabis retail license in New Jersey are summarized in the infographic below:

New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary License Consultant


Score High on a New Jersey Retailer Cannabis Application

First, Social Equity Businesses, Diversely Owned Businesses, and Impact Zone businesses will be prioritized in the licensure process so that their applications are reviewed before other applicants – regardless of when they apply (refer to our New Jersey Cannabis Consulting post for a detailed explanation).

Secondly, bonus points will be given to New Jersey residents. Additionally, the commission gives priority to the following:

  • First, applicants that include a significantly involved person who has resided in New Jersey for at least 5 years.
  • Secondly, applicants that are party to a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization that currently represents or is actively seeking to represent cannabis workers in New Jersey or another state
  • Thirdly, applicants that affirm they will use their best efforts to utilize building trades labor organizations in the construction of facilities associated with the licensed cannabis business in New Jersey
  • Fourthly, applicants that submit an attestation affirming they have a project labor agreement, which is a form of pre-hire collective bargaining agreement covering terms and conditions of a specific project. This includes labor issues and worker grievances associated with any construction or retrofit of facilities.
  • Fifthly, the commission gives special consideration to applicants that enter into agreements with an institution of higher education to create an integrated curriculum involving growing, processing, wholesaling, distributing, and retail sales of personal use cannabis and cannabis items.
  • Sixthly, the commission prioritizes applications on the basis of Impact Zones. This is explained further in the social equity section of this article (see below)

Make sure to utilize our cannabis consulting services in New Jersey for assistance in scoring high on a New Jersey marijuana business license application.

Scoring Process for Cannabis Applications in New Jersey

Each cannabis application in New Jersey will be scored and reviewed based upon a point scale. The New Jersey Cannabis Commission determines the number of points, point categories, and the system of point distribution by regulation. From then, the commission ranks the applicants based on the number of points they received.

The commission has the authority to adjust the point system or utilize a separate point system.

Lastly, if two or more applicants have the same number of points, those applicants shall be grouped together. If there are more eligible participants in this group than the remaining number of licenses available, the commission will utilize a public lottery to determine which applicants win a license.

Final Take

The cannabis industry in New Jersey is about to grow rapidly. The bill offers a lot of different options for cannabis dispensaries that other states do not offer. This will create a variety of competitive dispensaries within New Jersey. Contact our cannabis consultants in New Jersey so that you can open the best shop possible.

Take a closer look at the bill that regulates cannabis in New Jersey here.

For more information about other license types in New Jersey, click here.

Cannabis Consulting in New Jersey


Cannabis Manufacturer License in New Jersey

Natalie Jachymiak

About Natalie Jachymiak

Natalie is an author and marketing expert who covers topics related to business, policy, and licensing within the cannabis industry. She specializes in content creation, advertising, and public relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Communications and Marketing.

Leave a Reply

© 2020 Quantum 9, Inc. All Rights Reserved