Ansell.Law Secures Micro-license and Zoning Site Approval for Cannabis Retailer in Monmouth County

Establishing a retail cannabis facility in New Jersey is a long and complicated process. Although adult recreational cannabis use is now legal in New Jersey, local municipalities have their own regulations limiting or prohibiting recreational-use retailers. Before opening a retail location, recreational cannabis retailers must first successfully navigate through a complex and rigorous licensing process with the State of New Jersey.

After obtaining a license from the state, retailers are then faced with the arduous task of working through the maze of local regulations and zoning rules to secure approvals for a suitable location for their store.

The firm’s Controlled Substances and Regulatory Practice Group, led by attorneys Joshua S. Bauchner and Kelsey M. Barber, secured a “Micro” license for its client, Canopy Crossroad, which classification requires, among other things, that ownership of the cannabis retailer consists of local residents. After clearing that first hurdle, Canopy Crossroad needed to find and secure a location for its store and then undertake the challenging local municipal zoning approval process. They decided on Red Bank, a town that had agreed to opt-in to New Jersey’s law allowing the sale of cannabis. But before opening their dispensary, Canopy Crossroad needed approval from the Borough’s Planning Board.

As a full-service firm with cross-disciplinary practice areas, our client then was able to work with Rick Brodsky, of the Land Use and Zoning Law Department, who appeared before the Red Bank planning board on Monday, May 1st, and Monday, May 16th, for hearings on Canopy Crossroad’s application for site plan approval to open their retail outlet. After a heated debate among Brodsky, representatives of Canopy Crossroad, the Red Bank Planning Board, and opponents to opening a cannabis retailer in Red Bank, the Planning Board approved Canopy Crossroad’s conditional use site plan application on an 8-1 Board vote.

“Red Bank opted in, and cannabis is legal in the state,” said Brodsky. “By opting in, the town was required to specify districts where cannabis can be sold as a permitted use. The Red Bank Planning Board correctly interpreted the law, and we are delighted that they approved our site plan.”

Bauchner further noted that the Firm was a “one stop shop” for cannabis, and other clients, servicing all our clients’ needs:  “From corporate formation and operating documents, to lease agreements or site acquisition, to preparation of applications before the State CRC and Townships, to zoning approvals, all the way through to vendor and employee agreements once operational, our attorneys collaborate across disciplines to fulfill all client needs.”