The annual “The State of Legal Cannabis Markets” report in June released findings that indicate the world’s cannabis market could notch $15 billion this year. Industry insiders are forecasting global cannabis sales could total $14.9 billion in 2019, up 36% from 2018, driven in part by CBD product sales and recent legalization in Canada. For the first time, the cannabis industry was evaluated as the “Total Cannabinoid Market,” meaning it encompassed sales of medical and recreational cannabis at dispensaries, hemp-derived products rich in CBD, and U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved CBD-based pharmaceuticals.
As we prepare for CannaCon’s next stop in Springfield, Mass., our team is reviewing the current state of cannabis affairs in the Northeast. Below is a compiled listing of marijuana legislation and cannabis business licensing for New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut, as of June 2019.
Cannabis Business Licensing in Rhode Island
Cannabis is legal for medical use. This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction.
There are three Registered Medical Marijuana Compassion Centers in Rhode Island, as approved by the state. The Medical Marijuana Cultivator application period is closed. State lawmakers recently released a budget that would license six vertically integrated companies to cultivate, manufacture, and retail MMJ products, although this proposal has been met with controversy from the community.
Cannabis Business Licensing in Connecticut
Cannabis is legal for medical use. Possession of small amounts is decriminalized. Five new qualifying conditions will be potentially added to the medical use program, after a board of physicians recommended the new conditions at the Department of Consumer Protection. These conditions are: Interstitial cystitis, Medial arcuate ligament syndrome, Tourette syndrome, Vulvodynia and vulvar burning, and intractable neuropathic pain that is unresponsive to standard medical treatments.
Approval of these conditions is pending per the state Legislature’s Regulations Review Committee. If approved as expected, Connecticut’s nine dispensaries will be able to sell medical marijuana for 36 conditions for adults and 10 conditions for patients younger than 18.
This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction.
License fees for the state are noted below:
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary Facility License fees (Non-Refundable): Initial Application $1,000, Registration $5,000, and Renewal $5,000.
- Medical Marijuana Producer License fees (Non-Refundable): *applications are not currently being accepted* Initial Application $25,000, Registration $75,000, and Renewal $75,000.
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary License: Initial Application Fee $100, Annual Renewal Registration $100
Cannabis Business Licensing in New York
Cannabis is legal for medical use and allowed for recreational use when containing less than 0.3% THC. Possession of small amounts is decriminalized. Although legislation to legalize recreational cannabis use recently failed to pass, laws have changed. For example, the punishment for possession of less than one ounce of cannabis is now a fine of up to $50 instead of jail time and possession of between one and two ounces is punishable with a fine of up to $200. The new laws have also established a process to allow people to expunge past cannabis convictions from their criminal records.
The New York Health Department is no longer accepting applications for cannabis business licensing in New York. The following information is per 2015 posting. Each applicant was required to submit two fees with an application: a non-refundable application fee of $10,000, and a registration fee of $200,000. The $200,000 registration fee was refundable if the applicant was not issued a registration.
Cannabis Business Licensing in New Jersey
Cannabis is legal for medical use in New Jersey. Proposed legislation is aimed to expand medical allowances. The new version of the bill would increase the number of cultivation licenses to 28 (although 36 are requested), eliminate a 6.625% sales tax on MMJ products within three years, and turn the medical marijuana program’s oversight to a cannabis regulatory commission after 2021, until which the state health department will continue regulating the industry.
The Division of Medicinal Marijuana intends to seek applications for new Alternative Treatment Centers beginning in July 2019. An amended Request for Applications will be posted on July 1, 2019. Details regarding standards can be found under C.24:6I-7, Applications for permits to operate as alternative treatment center; regulations.
To cultivate in New Jersey, all applications must submit a $20,000 application fee in the form of two payments, one $18,000 check and one $2,000 check. If an application is unsuccessful, the department will keep the $2,000 check and destroy the $18,000 check. Applications are due Aug. 15, 2019. Up to 24 cultivation endorsements will be issued: 8 in the Northern Region, 8 in the Southern Region, and 8 in the Central Region.
To manufacture, up to 30 manufacturing endorsements will be issued: 10 in the Northern Region, 10 in the Southern Region, and 10 in the Central Region. All applications must submit a $20,000 application fee in the form of two payments, one $18,000 check and one $2,000 check. If an application is unsuccessful, the Department will keep the $2,000 check and destroy the $18,000 check. Applications are due Aug. 15, 2019.
Up to 54 dispensary endorsements will be issued: 20 in the Northern Region, 14 in the Southern Region, and 20 in the Central Region. All applications must submit a $20,000 application fee in the form of two payments, one $18,000 check and one $2,000 check. If an application is unsuccessful, the Department will keep the $2,000 check and destroy the $18,000 check. Applications are due Aug. 15, 2019.
Learn and Network at THE Cannabis Expo
Deadlines approach quickly, and changes both accelerate and delay in the blink of an eye. Keep your advantage in the market and expand your understanding through CannaCon. This event goes beyond a cannabis expo and hemp trade show; it is an evolving occasion to network with fellow marijuana business professionals, interact with informed speakers, and experience cannabis products and hemp products.
CannaCon is coming to your region! Mark your calendars for CannaCon Northeast Aug. 23-24, 2019 and CannaCon South Sept. 27-28, 2019. Register before these events sell out!