Curaleaf CEO says adult-use license rejections were purely political
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission reversed its decision and has approved retail licenses for two of Curaleaf’s marijuana dispensaries. These locations were facing a shutdown under the commission’s previous ruling.
The CEO of Curaleaf says that he believes that the reason for the license rejection was New Jersey politics.
“We ultimately think there was political things at play. More so than, you know, the legalities of whether a license should have been renewed,” says Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin.
The rejections initially impacted Curaleaf’s Bellmawr and Edgewater Park locations.
“It was definitely a shocking decision that we learned about on Thursday. We were not expecting to not have our adult use license renewed because we had no violations on those licenses,” says Darin.
Darin says he believes some CRC commissioners were unhappy over his company's plan to repurpose its marijuana grow facility in Bellmawr and move that grow facility to Winslow Township. Those plans are now being reevaluated by the company.
Some of Curaleaf’s employees rallied outside the CRC’s offices in Trenton on Monday to express their displeasure at the decision.
But in an emergency meeting just a few hours later, the CRC reversed its decision and approved Curaleaf’s licenses – with some stipulations.
“Last week's CRC meeting appears to have been a wake-up call for many cannabis companies doing business in New Jersey,” says CRC commissioner, Krista Nash.
Nash lives in Winslow Township. Her husband, Jeff, is a Camden County commissioner. Nash said that marijuana companies must follow the laws that help workers organize unions.
“In my opinion, Curaleaf in several of its locations, have not complied with the mandatory labor provisions set forth in the law,” says Nash.
The CRC voted to renew the licenses only on the conditions that the company adhere to requirements to negotiate for a labor agreement in good faith, that the company provides the CRC with any plans for facility modifications or operations changes and that Curaleaf report all good-faith efforts to meet their social equity commitments.
Darin says that the career employees on the CRC were ready to approve the licenses last week. He says that the rejection only came when the political appointees who serve as commissioners had to weigh in.