On Monday morning, hundreds of Curaleaf employees showed up outside of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission in Trenton to protest the agency's decision last week to deny its license renewal request, a decision that could have threatened an estimated 500 New Jersey jobs.

An hour after the protest ended, the CRC held an emergency Zoom meeting and approved the Curaleaf license renewal.

Curaleaf is New Jersey’s largest recreational cannabis operator.

According to Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association, the reversal by the CRC was a good and welcome step forward for the entire recreational pot industry.

Courtesy Curaleaf
Courtesy Curaleaf

They looked at all the facts

He said the CRC has taken the time “to look at all of the facts surrounding their decision, and as it does happen in government, sometimes there’s a change or a reversal in a ruling.”

He said legalizing recreational marijuana has launched the birth of a new industry in New Jersey, given us the chance to right the wrongs of the past and cut a clear path forward “that benefits not only people that were harmed by old government practices, but will actually be a boon to entrepreneurship.”

“You’re looking at an industry that contributed close to $200 million to the state’s bottom line through both medicinal as well as adult-use cannabis sales.”

Why did the Cannabis Regulatory Commission suddenly change course?

DeVeaux said at this point no one is sure.

attachment-New Jersey marijuana revenue 1600

“Something happened," he said. "Calmer and cooler heads prevailed.”

After the CRC made its updated ruling, Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin described it as an incredible victory and vindication “for what we knew all along: Curaleaf is in good standing with the CRC and has fulfilled every requirement necessary for the renewal of our licenses.”

Was it a union issue?

During the CRC meeting,  Chairwoman Dianna Houenou said at the next CRC meeting in June Curaleaf must provide evidence of good faith efforts to negotiate for a collective bargaining agreement at each of their facilities or possibly face fines or even have their license suspended.

She did not elaborate but there have been some reports suggesting Curaleaf was not supportive of efforts by some workers to discuss joining a union. Darin denied that was the case.

Commissioner Krista Nash said this was “a wake-up call” for the cannabis industry.

A request for comment made to the CRC after the meeting had concluded was not immediately answered.

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