The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) has issued licenses to multiple alternative treatment centers (ATCs) to begin recreational sales of cannabis today, according to a press release.
Seven different ATCs will receive the licenses to begin adult-use cannabis operations. Individuals who are at least 21 years old are now able to buy cannabis and cannabis products without a medical card.
The ATCs are required to meet certain standards of social equity, such as giving technical knowledge to businesses that will now sell cannabis, according to the release.
Companies that sell medicinal cannabis that have received approval to open the recreational market will be evaluated on various aspects, including their diversity in both hiring and management, their support for local programs, the amount of technical support they provide to other businesses and the number of connections they have to minority-owned suppliers.
Wesley McWhite, the director of diversity and inclusion at the NJ-CRC, said these aspects of medicinal cannabis companies are assessed because drug prohibition laws have disproportionately impacted minority communities, according to the release.
“A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership, and these companies that have been benefitting from the market for the past 12 years ... have a role in helping to accomplish that,” McWhite said. “Making the standards and the grades public ensures customers, stakeholders, advocates and the general public have a clear picture of the equity and diversity efforts in the New Jersey market.”