There are about 18 cannabis dispensaries in the state of New Jersey. Cannabis became legal in the U.S. in 1996 in California; however, it did not become legal in New Jersey until the start of 2021. With a small pool of competition, a newer ground of now-legalized products, and specific policies associated with proper selling, there is a lot of room to make mistakes.
Therefore, marijuana industry workplace compliance is vital when starting a cannabis business in the state. Cannabis is a billion-dollar industry, so it’s not hard to see why there is such an interest in starting a “grow” business. However, it’s not as simple as you might think, and there are some challenges that you can expect to face when starting a cannabis business legally.
It can be financially beneficial and a sustainable business option if done the right way. Keep reading as we break down marijuana laws throughout New Jersey and how to navigate compliance regulations in the state.
Marijuana Industry Workplace Compliance: How It Works in New Jersey
NJ marijuana industry workplace compliance refers to the rules and regulations that must be followed by cannabis businesses to stay within state standards. Compliance regulations are set to ensure all business operations are safe and legal and that they don’t negatively impact the community in any way.
All businesses that deal with cannabis must follow these policies. For New Jersey, this will apply to hiring and firing employees and how you run your operation. While it’s well known that by federal law, marijuana use is prohibited, there are exceptions for states that have legalized its use.
This means that it’s protected within New Jersey for medical and recreational use. This also means that using either type can’t result in adverse action against an employee you might hire or solely determine if you hire someone. However, some employment provisions, like any workplace, prohibit use when on the job or the premises of a job site.
What to Know About Testing
These safeguards were implemented to protect and ensure safe operations for those directly and indirectly affected by any onsite work, machines operated, or products used. This is a way to protect against potential impairment.
It’s also a top reason for the need for health and safety programs. With impairment, you must be aware that there isn’t a formal understanding of what level of THC equates to impairment. This comes from many unreliable observations compared to field sobriety test options.
This means that although it’s known that marijuana has psychoactive components, you cannot say that someone is in the same impaired state as another person that might fail a test for alcohol or other drugs. With this, you should also keep in mind that testing for marijuana is different than tests for other alternatives.
Different marijuana products may also present different effects, further complicating testing and observation. Additionally, these facts have stemmed from an ongoing debate throughout the industry.
Companies should avoid depending on drug tests as a means of detection. Instead, companies should start using tests to measure actual impairment based on work quality.
State Marijuana Laws: What You Need to Know
State marijuana laws can often come off as complicated. While its legal status isn’t the same everywhere, your business must comply with the fact that it isn’t legal for everyone, even in legalized states. In New Jersey, the legal age for marijuana possession and use is 21.
You will also have to ensure that you pay any associated fees as part of your legal distribution status. Also, suppose you plan on starting a cannabis business. In that case, you will need training in the cannabis and marijuana industry to ensure you comply with New Jersey policies and regulations.
What Are Some Initial Steps to Starting a Cannabis Business in NJ?
Getting started can seem like a large undertaking. You will be required to have proof of real estate acquisition. You will also have to present all required planning documents and approval from the municipality where you operate.
This is all associated with the standard licensing alone. This isn’t including mock blueprints or other associated fees. To give you an idea of the fees that will need to be paid, some of them would be:
- Testing laboratory approval fee
- Conditional conversion submission fee
- Expanded ATC certification fee
Selling marijuana products in New Jersey can seem complex. With the proper guidance, it’s not as tricky as it would seem.
What to Keep In Mind as You Prepare to Start Your Business
Even though marijuana is legal in New Jersey, you must follow specific rules and regulations to open a cannabis business. There are two main types of cannabis licenses issued in New Jersey. They are cannabis cultivators and cannabis dispensaries. There are, however, six licenses that you can apply for:
- Delivery service
If you want to apply for a cannabis growing license, you must have a New Jersey residence. In general, usually, all business owners would need to be residents.
However, if one owner is a resident and all owners pass a background check, this would qualify. To qualify as a resident, you must have resided in the state for at least two years.
Additionally, customers don’t only have to be New Jersey residents. They can be visitors to the state if they are 21 or older. You must also apply for a dispensary license in the county where you want to operate your business.
You must pay an application fee for a cannabis dispensary license. There is a fee schedule (non-refundable) created by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission that all businesses must comply with. Also, keep in mind that there is a difference between medical and recreational marijuana.
The retail licensing fee will come out to $10,000. For a license as a cultivator, this will depend on your operations tier. For example, Tier 1 cultivation licenses are $5,000, while Tier III is $20,000.
These tiers mainly represent the size of the farm and its operation. It essentially evens the playing field for different-sized farms.
The Right Type of Guidance That Adapts to Your Business Goals
The cannabis industry is profitable. With it legalized in New Jersey, you can enter a market that hasn’t yet become too saturated.
Before starting, you must ensure product and consumer safety with marijuana industry workplace compliance. This will help to avoid legal issues and customer dissatisfaction.
PHASE Associates have designed workflows to provide quality outsourcing solutions for unique challenges. With extensive and reputable industry expertise, we aim to optimize how you prepare to operate your business. Get started by learning more about what we do in the cannabis industry.
Our NJ marijuana industry workplace compliance services are offered throughout the entire state of New Jersey.