Some of the largest US cannabis operators violated important rules set up for the newly legal marijuana market in New Jersey. And, they’re being fined for it.
According to state cannabis commission documents, obtained via Open Public Records Act request, Curaleaf Holdings Inc. CURLF, and several other dispensaries in New Jersey processed nearly 3,200 recreational sales during hours that were reserved for medical marijuana patients, reported Bloomberg.
These sales were “to the detriment of the medicinal patient population,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the NJ Cannabis Commission, stated in violation notices dated May 13. The notice was issued to five dispensaries: Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries GTBIF, Acreage Holdings ACRDF, Verano Holdings Corp. VRNOF and Ascend Wellness Holdings AAWH.
On the first day medical marijuana dispensaries began selling recreational weed, Curaleaf’s Bellmawr store alone completed 142 transactions and Acreage processed 257 at its Williamstown and Egg Harbor shops.
As a result, Verano faces $90,000 in fines, Ascend and Green Thumb $80,000 each, Acreage $60,000 and Curaleaf $50,000, amounting to $360,000 in fines for those 8 days.
“Any cannabis business that does not prioritize medicinal cannabis patient access should expect similar action,” Brown told Bloomberg.
Stephanie Cunha, a spokeswoman for Curaleaf, told the outlet that the company has already accepted responsibility for its actions and paid the fines.
Curaleaf is “living up to our promise to provide two designated hours to the medical community at each of our locations every day,” Cunha said in a statement. “During the first few days of adult-use sales in New Jersey we were responding to the overwhelming lines and demand at our facility for adult use. Because of sales and events leading up to the first days of adult-use sales, a vast number of our medical patients had stocked up on products before the 21st, resulting in virtually no lines at our facility at the time.”
To avoid medical marijuana patients being overlooked once recreational cannabis sales began, the New Jersey Cannabis Commission demanded all dispensaries confirm special hours, before providing them with licenses.
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