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April 15, 2023

Curaleaf will lose license to sell recreational weed in New Jersey following vote by state regulators

Locations in Bellmawr and Edgewater Park, both under 30 minute drives from Center City will be impacted by the state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission's decision not to renew the company's permits

Curaleaf, a big producer and retailer of New Jersey's recreational marijuana will soon lose its permit to sell adult-use weed at two of its locations after the state's  Cannabis Regulatory Commission decided not to renew the company's annual license. 

The vote which happened on Thursday, included two tallies against renewing the license, one in favor of the renewal, and two people who declined to vote, the Inquirer said

Latest: New Jersey gives Curaleaf conditional renewal of recreational marijuana licenses

The decision not to renew the license means on April 21, locations in Edgewater Park, Burlington County, and Bellmawr will no longer be able to sell weed recreationally for people 21 and older. 

The Edgewater Park location is approximately a 30-minute drive from Center City and the Bellmawr location is about 17 minutes away from that central location of Philadelphia. The dispensary's Bordertown location which is a 20-minute drive from the Edgewater location will still be able to sell recreational-use marijuana, according to 6ABC.

Curaleaf's renewal application included the Bellmawr and Edgewater Park dispensaries as well as cultivation facilities in Bellmawr and Winslow, said

"Today's unprecedented action by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission's Board - which overrode the Commission's own staff recommendation that our adult use licenses be renewed - is an outrageous act of political retaliation for our need to consolidate production into one local facility," Curaleaf tweeted. "This type of politicization will only serve to further undermine the state's nascent cannabis industry." 

Chairwoman Dianna Houenou who did not cast a vote said that her decision was based on questions and concerns over Curaleaf's decision to close one of its cultivation facilities in March. She said that the company did not notify the state before making the decision and that Curaleaf lacks transparency in some areas of its application, reported.

"There’s still a lot of information, missing information, that can be provided, that should be provided," Houenou said.

All but five employees were offered employment at other locations, chief compliance officer, James Shorris told the commission board, the Inquirer reported. Shorris also said that he was not sure of the timing between Curaleaf's application and the decision to close the facility. 

Curaleaf chairman Boris Jordan said that there are no regulations requiring companies to get permission for staff reductions. 

"Curaleaf is in good standing with the CRC and has fulfilled the requirements necessary for the renewal of our licenses," Jordan said.

A memo from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission's executive director  Jeff Brown recommended that Curaleaf's license from recreational weed use be renewed

Starting on April 21, 2022, adults who were at least 21 years old were able to purchase marijuana for recreational use in New Jersey, a year and a half after voters approved a ballot question allowing for the sale of the drug. 

Curaleaf, which is headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts is one of the country's largest marijuana companies producing and distributing weed. It operates dispensaries in 23 states, employing about 6,000 people.

In Pennsylvania, recreational marijuana use is still prohibited. Gov. Josh Shapiro has maintained that he is supportive of legalizing cannabis. He has been on record saying weed should be legalized, regulated, and taxed in the state. His first budget as governor included a wholesale tax on marijuana

Although the Democrats control the state House, Pennsylvania is not close to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. There are multiple proposals on the table including  Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations growing and selling weed. Another proposal calls for creating a plan to control and regulate the sale in Pennsylvania

Jeff Riedy of Lehigh Valley NORML a pro-legalization lobbying group said legislation to authorize recreational weed use stands little chance of passing this year in Pennsylvania's divided legislature, according to Axios

"By not legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania, lawmakers are forcing consumers to go over state lines to buy legal cannabis that’s tested or to the black market," Riedy said.