Curaleaf is one of the country’s largest cannabis multi-state operators. It produces and distributes medical and recreational cannabis across 23 states, employing 5,000+ people.
Last month, Curlaleaf drew scrutiny from New Jersey regulators after it decided to close one of its cultivation facilities in Bellmawr. The company failed to notify the state beforehand and was subsequently denied license renewal for five annual licenses.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission cited labor violations as one of the main reasons for denying Curaleaf’s license renewals. The state has specific labor provisions for cannabis companies, which include maintaining a labor-peace agreement and bargaining for a contract within 200 days once workers vote to unionize.
Commissioner Krista Nash explained that her vote was based on public testimony from Curaleaf workers and union organizers who said the company wasn’t compliant with labor laws.
The commission also noted that it still needed to receive the necessary paperwork regarding its compliance with New Jersey regulations related to taxes, environmental safety, and other regulatory provisions.
CRC chairwoman Dianna Houenou criticized Curaleaf for failing to notify the state before deciding to shut down its cultivation facility in Bellmawr.
She stated, “The lack of due diligence…was certainly a factor in our decision not to renew their licenses.” She also noted that Curaleaf failed to comply with requests for additional information about its compliance with New Jersey regulations related to taxes, environmental safety, and other regulatory provisions.
Furthermore, the company needed to adequately explain why it had suddenly decided to close a profitable facility without prior approval from regulators or informing employees of their fate beforehand.
Houenou suggested that such a lack of transparency and engagement could demonstrate an unwillingness on behalf of the company to adhere to New Jersey regulations.
Curaleaf has said that the employees at the Bellmawr facility had been offered jobs elsewhere in the state and that it was actively working to resolve any issues with regulators to receive its license renewals.
After an urgent meeting, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission reversed its decision and reinstated Curaleaf’s license. The commission acknowledged that the company had taken steps to address its issues with regulators and provide more transparency.
The Commission also recognized the potential impact that revoking their licenses would have on access to medical cannabis for thousands of patients in the state.
The decision was welcomed by employees and cannabis advocates who had gathered earlier that day for a rally outside of CRC headquarters. They argued that denying Curaleaf its license renewals could result not just in job losses but also limit access to legal cannabis medication, something which many people rely on for life-saving treatment.
The rally demonstrated many’s passionate belief in this industry and provided an opportunity for workers to be heard when decisions affecting their livelihoods were being made.
Curaleaf said they were pleased with the outcome and that they were committed to meeting all regulatory requirements to continue providing safe and responsible access to medical cannabis products. They also vowed to provide more transparency in the future so that their practices remain compliant with the state’s regulations.
The decision by the CRC is a reminder of how important it is for regulators to hold businesses accountable and create an environment where everyone involved is treated fairly and ethically. It also serves as an example of why maintaining high standards of compliance from large multi-state operators like Curaleaf could lead to better business practices as a whole for the future of the legal cannabis industry.
Below is the Video of the Emergency Meeting of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission
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