The Slow Roll of NJ’s Legal Marijuana Industry: In November 2020, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But New Jersey’s first commercial sale of recreational weed is still far off, according to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
At last week’s public meeting, CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said the process was being delayed, at least in part, by entrepreneurs who have applied to open recreational dispensaries but haven’t yet provided proof of municipal approval, as they were required to do by Jan. 6.
One of the biggest problems for the budding industry continues to be buy-in from municipalities – or lack thereof. More than 400 towns (about 71% of the state’s municipalities) have passed ordinances prohibiting cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, delivery, and dispensing. Only about 100 municipalities — primarily in South and Central Jersey — have passed ordinances allowing legal weed dispensaries, the analysis found.
Another issue is a requirement that applicants demonstrate they can meet demand for medical marijuana, and still have enough for recreational buyers. Some applicants have not shown they can meet operational capacity, ensure patients get served first, and expand access if demand soars higher than expected. The CRC did not offer a date when sales of recreational cannabis are expected to begin.
NJEDA Now Accepting applications for Aspire Development Tax Credit: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) began accepting applications for the Aspire program, a place-based economic development program created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA). The Aspire program supports mixed-use, transit-oriented development by providing tax credits to commercial and residential real estate development projects that have financing gaps.
The Aspire program application, as well as complete rules, eligibility requirements, award sizes, and other information, are available at https://www.njeda.com/aspire.
“The Aspire program will help to advance new housing and commercial development projects throughout the state, with a focus on communities that have long been overlooked,” said Governor Murphy. “New Jersey’s economy is rebounding, and housing is in high-demand. Our Administration has long prioritized transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and other projects of public interest, and we will continue to do so under the Aspire program.”
NJDEP Introduces Water Infrastructure Investment Plan: New Jersey’s Water Bank program will receive almost $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law over the next five years. As such, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has created the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP) which is designed to support federal and state priorities related to water infrastructure projects.
These funds can be used to replace lead-containing water service lines, reduce pollution of waterways from combined sewer systems, harden critical infrastructure, adapt and modernize stormwater management systems, improve wastewater treatment plants and their collection systems, and help public water suppliers to install treatment systems to address threats from emerging contaminants such as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Over the next three months, the NJDEP and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) will engage with a broad array of stakeholders in developing the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP) parameters for the first of a five-year period.
Click here to learn more about the NJDEP’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan.
New Legislator Profile: Assemblywoman Sadaf F. Jaffer (D-16): Assemblywoman Jaffer was elected to the state assembly in November 2021, having previously served as mayor and councilwoman in Montgomery Township where she also served on the local zoning board. She also served as Vice-Chair of the Somerset County Development Authority.
She earned a B.S. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University and works as a researcher and lecturer at Princeton University.
Assemblywoman Jaffer serves on the Assembly Education, Assembly Health, and Assembly State & Local Government Committee.