Five companies fined $360K for not putting medical patients first during N.J. legal weed launch - world cultures

Five companies fined $360K for not putting medical patients first during N.J. legal weed launch

Editor’s note: New Jersey hemp from the inside She is hosting an in-person event for business networking on July 14 at The Asbury in Asbury Park. Tickets are limited.

Five multistate marijuana companies have been fined a total of $360,000 for violating patient-first medical protocols during the launch of an adult herbal program in New Jersey in April.

The five companies — Ascend, Curaleaf, Verano, GTI and Acreage — allegedly generated nearly 3,200 sales of recreational weed for adults from April 21-29 during the hours that were meant to be for medical cannabis patients, which were typically the first and / Or the second hour of business hours listed in dozens of stores.

The state Cannabis Regulatory Commission has fined $10,000 per day for alleged violations of “patient hours only”. It first appeared on the CRC website, starting in May, and crashed as follows:

An area of ​​$60,000 for 6 violations from April 21 to 27.

$80,000 for eight violations from April 21-28.

Koralif: $50,000 for five violations from April 21-28.

GTI: $80,000 for eight violations from April 21-29.

Verano: $90,000, a total of nine violations, April 21-29.

Coralef spokeswoman Stephanie Cunha told NJ Advance Media that the company took responsibility.

Curaleaf accepts responsibility for these citations and has paid our fines to the state. “For the first few days of adult use sales in New Jersey, we were responding to the massive lines and demand at our adult use facility,” the company said in a statement. “Due to sales and events leading up to the early days of adult use sales, a significant number of our patients stocked products prior to the 21st, resulting in virtually no lines. [for medical cannabis] at our facility at that time.”

“Patients who came to Coralev during these days were immediately prioritized over leisure consumers and served almost immediately without waiting. We continue to prioritize our medical patients and now deliver on our promise to provide two hours dedicated to the medical community at each of our locations every day.”

Acreage, among the opening group of cannabis operators allowed to start sales of adult use in the state, acknowledged its mistakes in a lengthy statement and promised to do better.

“The turnout at The Botanist locations in Williamstown and Egg Harbor Township during the opening of adult use in New Jersey was well above our expectations, as customers formed lines around the building,” said Sharon Ali, Acreage Mid-Atlantic regional general manager. “Even with the long lines, our commitment to our patients and customers is – and will continue to be – paramount.

“Our employees take the extra time and make sure their questions are answered and every guest’s needs are met when they visit our stores,” added Ali. “Staff attention has resulted in some adult customers staying in the store for a limited time after our patient-only hours began. … There are hurdles and challenges in being first, but the botanist is committed to positively developing our industry, and remains focused on maintaining patient hours. exclusively for patients and remains committed to maintaining the best operations during the industry transition, which satisfies the state, our patients, and our large customers.”

Verano, GTI and Ascend declined to comment on the fines.

Bloomberg News was the first to report the wrongdoing after filing an Open Public Records Act request for information. Among the irregularities that Bloomberg discovered was that on April 21 — when medical dispensaries first opened their doors to recreational buyers — Curaleaf’s Bellmawr handled 142 sales of herbal to adults during designated hours for medical marijuana patients. Acreage recorded sales of 257 adult herbs at its Egg Harbor and Williamstown locations during medical treatment hours only on launch day.

Ahead of the state’s release of the adult weed on April 21, the Committee on the Rights of the Child warned that dispensaries that fail to prioritize medical marijuana patients or fall below a certain limit in their medical cannabis supply will be fined $10,000 a day.

Seven dispensaries, also known as alternative therapy centers, gave presentations on April 11 before the CRC highlighted their plans to give patients priority access with designated parking spaces, and check lines and hotlines before final state approvals. AYR, the eighth multi-country operator to gain approval to expand adult use, submitted its bid May 24.

CRC spokeswoman Tony Ann Blake said such fines are now on the agency’s website after she was asked why violations were not included in the CRC press release that highlighted $1.9 million in revenue from more than 12,000 customers during the adult herb’s first day in April. 21, although some irregularities occurred on the same day.

Nor were the violations mentioned during the Committee on the Rights of the Child meeting on May 24 where CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown announced that sales of legal weed exceeded $24 million in the first month of their launch from April 21 to May 21.

“The fines and other enforcement actions taken against any cannabis trade that do not prioritize medical cannabis patients reflect our commitment to protecting patient access,” Blake said in an email to NJ Advance Media. “Businesses that violate the requirements will be issued a notice of violation that requires a corrective plan, and then perhaps a notice of a fine. A list of these violations, like much other information, is available on our website. Everything will not warrant a press release.”

The agency announced Thursday that it has put in place another incentive for multinational operators to prioritize medical cannabis patients.

As of July 1, New Jersey residents enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program no longer pay state sales tax on cannabis and cannabis products purchased from an authorized medical dispensary.

The three-stage sales tax repeal was part of the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act that was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in 2019.

“The abolition of the state sales tax on medical cannabis is consistent with the intent of Governor Murphy and the legislature to prioritize patients and improve affordability,” said CEO Brown. “With sales tax phased out from 4% to 2%, and now to 0%, patients are able to spend less on their medication, ensuring patients are given priority over recreational consumers.”

Adult recreational weed is now sold at 16 locations across the state with five more locations awaiting either an opening date or final municipal and state approvals. Tney are: Ascend in Montclair and Fort Lee; Verano in the town of Neptune; TerrAscend in Lodi; and Curaleaf in Bordentown.

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Susette Parmley It can be accessed at [email protected] Or follow her on Twitter: @SuzParmley

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