• Posts by Sean Mack

    Sean Mack is the co-chair of the firm's Litigation practice and co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis and Hemp practice. He also serves as a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Clients turn to Sean for his steadfast guidance ...

Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated the intricate process of applying for a cannabis business license in New York, and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management has given you the green light to proceed with your business by granting you one of those highly coveted licenses.

Now what do you need to do?

Here is a list of 10 things you should consider if you would like to turn your cannabis dream into a reality.

1. Secure Site Control
For those who do not currently have site control of commercial real estate, this is a priority. The approved license comes with the ...

The NJEDA established the Cannabis Equity Grant Program to give out $6 million in grants to 24 cannabis applicants.  The NJEDA previously announced that it was accepting applications on a first come first serve basis as of 9:00 am on April 20, 2023.  Based on application confirmation code numbers provided to applicants by the NJEDA today, it appears that by 9:16 am more than 70 applications had been submitted and by 9:45am the NJEDA closed the application portal with this message:

Based on significant interest in the Cannabis Equity – Joint Ventures Grant, the NJEDA has already received ...

During the February 8, 2023, meeting of the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) provided some much awaited details about its plans to provide grants to cannabis entrepreneurs.  The NJEDA announced that it has approved two Pilot programs for cannabis businesses, which are claimed to be the most generous state grant program for cannabis businesses in the country.

One program will provide up to $150,000 to 24 grant winners and the second program will provide up to $250,000 to 24 grant winners.  Applicants can only receive one of the two ...

New businesses in the cannabis industry may be eligible for state funding for their start-up expenses.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board recently announced the creation of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program. The initial pilot program will provide $10 million to help start-ups in New Jersey with startup expenses and technical training.

Sixty percent of funds will be reserved for qualifying social equity applicants, such as individuals who have previous cannabis convictions or live in economically disadvantaged areas, defined as zip codes that meet ...

From: Cannabis Business Executive

On November 10, 2022, a New York federal judge entered an order enjoining New York’s retail cannabis dispensary application process in five regions of the state. This decision follows similar decisions from federal courts in Maine and Michigan that have found provisions in cannabis licensing rules that unfairly favor in-state residents over out-of-state residents violate the “dormant commerce clause” of the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiff in this case, Variscite, submitted a complete application under New York’s CAURD program for ...

On March 10, 2022, the New York Cannabis Control Board adopted a resolution to file proposed conditional adult-use retail dispensary regulations with the Secretary of State.  This is a significant step towards licensing retail dispensaries because once filed, there will be a 60-day comment period, and soon thereafter the rules can become final.  Once the rules are final, the Office of Cannabis Management can begin accepting applications for retail dispensary licenses.

If adopted, New York’s rules would be the first in the country to specifically require applicants to either be ...

From: Cannabis Business Executive

At its public meeting on November 10, 2021, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced that on December 15, 2021 applicants for cultivation or manufacturing licenses can begin submitting applications and on March 15, 2022 applicants for retail dispensary licenses can begin submitting applications.  That staggered application process makes sense to help ensure that there will be product available in the market for retailers to sell. In a sharp break from the application process for medical licenses, the CRC made clear that it will ...

During its public meeting on November 9, 2021, the New Jersey CRC passed a resolution to begin accepting applications for adult use (recreational) testing, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on December 15, 2021.  License applications for retail dispensaries can be submitted beginning on March 15, 2022.  The CRC will review applications on a rolling basis and the application window will not close until another notice is released.

The CRC confirmed that apart from the statutorily set limit of 37 licenses for cultivation, there are no numerical limits imposed by the state on any ...

Published in Cannabis Business Executive

On August 19, 2021, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission adopted its initial rules for the adult use market, two days ahead of an August 21, 2021 deadline set by statute.  The new rules – all 160 pages of them – will be effective for one year until August 19, 2022.

The CRC previously announced that the initial rules would not be comprehensive and would focus on issues they deemed necessary to allow the industry to get off the ground.  Consistent with that message, the rules focus on the application process and the requirements for ...

On August 21, 2021, the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission will issue its initial regulations to govern the adult use cannabis industry in New Jersey.  The CRC made that public announcement during its July 13, 2021, public meeting.  The August 21 rules release date is compelled by state law, but given the substantial amount of work required to set up the CRC and to prepare the numerous and detailed regulations required by statute, there was significant speculation in the state whether the CRC would be able to meet the deadline.

The CRC did admit that the initial regulations to be released on ...

  • June 28, 2021

From: Cannabis Business Executive, click here to view the full article.

A newly proposed state law extending New Jersey town’s time to adopt local cannabis specific laws will likely cause problems for applicants who may need to submit their applications before towns are forced to take a position.

Under New Jersey’s adult use cannabis legislation, municipalities have until August 21, 2021 to adopt local ordinances setting zoning rules for cannabis establishments in each town. Under the statute, each of the State’s 565 municipalities has the right to adopt ...

On April 12, 2021, the first public meeting of the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) was held, which officially marks the transfer of power from the NJ Department of Health (DOH) to the CRC over New Jersey’s medical cannabis program and the start of its adult use industry.

In opening remarks, each of the CRC commissioners and its Executive Director emphasized that medical marijuana patients would be given priority over the adult use market.  The Executive Director emphasized that there was a need for more alternative treatment centers across the state and a need to have the ...

Under New Jersey’s recently enacted adult-use marijuana law, every municipality in the State has until August 21, 2021 to adopt local ordinances regulating marijuana businesses within their jurisdiction.  Local ordinances adopted prior to February 21, 2021 have been invalidated by state law.  If a municipality fails to adopt local ordinances by August 21, 2021, all classes of licensed marijuana operations will be permitted in that municipality.

Bayonne’s recent introduction of a proposed ordinance is a prime example of why potential applicants for licenses in New ...

Sean Mack, co-chair of the Cannabis & Hemp Law practice, and co-chair of the Litigation practice, at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was featured in a Q&A with Cheryl Miller in the Higher Law column on Law.com regarding New Jersey’s recent legislation regarding marijuana.

Please see below for excerpts from the conversation.

Higher Law: What are the key takeaways from these new laws?

Mack: This is transformative legislation. It's creating a whole new, potentially multibillion-dollar industry that's going to impact every area of legal profession. Obviously, regulatory law ...

From: Cannabis Business Executive, click here to view the full article.

Four days before NJ Governor Murphy signed into law legislation creating an adult use cannabis industry in New Jersey, a NJ appellate court issued a decision on February 18, 2021 resolving initial appeals from a 2019 round of medical marijuana license applications.  The decision allows that 2019 round of applications to move forward after significant delay, but more importantly for people interested in applying for an adult use license, the decision provides the first judicial guidance on a few common ...

After a series of delays, Governor Murphy signed into law today legislation first passed by the state legislature on December 17, 2020 to create an adult use cannabis industry in the state. Under the law (and subject to possible extension), a newly forming Cannabis Regulatory Commission has until August 21, 2021 to issue initial rules and open the first application window for licenses for the new adult use cannabis industry.  The race to be ready for submitting applications is now officially on. 

For further information please contact the Co-Chairs of our Cannabis & Hemp Law practice:

From: Cannabis Business Executive, click here to view the full article.

On December 17, 2020, both houses of New Jersey’s legislature passed companion bills to create a new regulatory framework to govern the cultivation, processing, distribution and sale of state legal marijuana.  The bill is expected to be promptly signed into law by Governor Murphy. This law will give effect to the constitutional amendment passed by New Jersey voters on November 3, 2020 to legalize personal use cannabis.

New Jersey’s adult use law provides opportunities for separate licenses for ...

NJ Senate and Assembly committees have now voted in favor of moving the personal use cannabis bills to full votes of the Legislature on Thursday December 17, 2020.  If passed on Thursday, it is expected that Governor Murphy will sign the bill into law soon thereafter.  A copy of the amended bill will be posted on our website as soon as it is made available.

According to the bill, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will have 180 days to release its rules and then begin accepting applications for licensure.

Please contact Sean Mack at smack@pashmanstein.com or 201.270.4919 for ...

In a historic vote, the US House of Representatives voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.

The MORE Act would decriminalize marijuana at the national level by removing it from the controlled substances list.  The Act would impose a 5% federal tax on marijuana sales to fund various services for individuals negatively impacted by the war on drugs.  The MORE Act also would authorize the Small Business Administration to provide SBA loans to state legal cannabis entities, which would provide a needed source of lower cost financing for ...

From: Cannabis Business Executive, click here to view the full article.

Within six days after voters approved the referendum to legalize cannabis in New Jersey, companion legislation was introduced and then passed through the initial committees in both the General Assembly and the Senate to formalize the legalization of adult use cannabis. Senators Scutari introduced Senate bill S-21 “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” and Representatives Quijano, Holley, Timberlake, McKnight, Danielsen introduced ...

From: Cannabis Business Executive, click here to view the full article.

Three days after New Jersey voters approved a referendum to legalize adult use marijuana, New Jersey’s Governor announced the appointment of the leaders of the newly forming Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). The creation of the CRC was called for under New Jersey’s amended medical cannabis act adopted in 2019 but had not yet been established. The CRC will regulate all aspects of medical cannabis in New Jersey and is expected to take on regulation of adult use cannabis once legislation is passed.

On November 3, 2020, New Jersey voters passed a constitutional referendum to legalize adult use marijuana under state law (it remains illegal under federal law).  But that does not mean that marijuana will suddenly be available in retail stores across the state; that people can now walk down main street smoking pot; or that you can grow your own marijuana.  A lot of work needs to be accomplished before the first sales of state-legal adult use marijuana begin in New Jersey.  This is the first of a series of posts about the impact of the legalization referendum on the Garden State and what to ...

In Hager v. M&K Construction, 462 N.J. Super. 146 (App. Div. 2020), the petitioner, Vincent Hager, suffered a work-related back injury. After treating his ailments with surgeries and prescription opiates for years, the efficacy of the drugs diminished, and the side effects of his opiate use became debilitating. Eventually, Hager was referred to a pain management specialist and was prescribed medical marijuana pursuant to New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). Thereafter, Hager filed a Worker’s Compensation claim against M&K.

At the ...

On February 26, Bell Works will host a the monthly How It Works series focusing on the ins and outs of CBD. Sean Mack, chair of the Cannabis and Hemp practice at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden will be a panelist at the monthly event.

The discussion will take place in the Lower Level of Bell Works and will be open to the public. Details are below:

How it Works: Get into the CBD spirit(s)

Chill with us after hours and learn all about CBD + spirits over some drinks in the Lower Level of Bell Works on Wednesday, February 26 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


  • Mayya Fleyshmakher, Founder of Light Heart Yoga ...

As medical marijuana use expands in New Jersey -- more than 66,000 patients are now registered -- our businesses and our courts will be forced to reconcile potentially inconsistent state and federal laws.

On January 13, 2020, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an important decision in a case arising in the context of a worker’s compensation claimant seeking reimbursement for his use of medical marijuana.

The former employee had endured 18-years of chronic disabling pain from a workplace injury, despite multiple surgeries and years of taking opioids.  He then began finding ...

Sean Mack quoted in the Law360 article, “Class Action 'Avalanche' Coming For CBD Industry.” The article explains that class actions have been popping up against CBD companies in federal courts. Attorneys are explaining that this is the beginning of consumer litigation against cannabis businesses.

"Someone files one, and then it's, 'Jump on the bandwagon,'" said Sean Mack, co-chair of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden PC's litigation practice.

Compared to marijuana products, which are only legal in certain states and cannot be transported across state lines, CBD claims are more ...

On October 29, 2019, the USDA released its long awaited interim rules for the hemp industry, following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last year that descheduled hemp under the Controlled Substances Act.  These are interim rules and the USDA is accepting comments over the next few months.

The 160 pages of rules cover a variety of topics including testing of levels of delta-9 THC, licensing requirements, and establishing procedures for states to submit plans for the cultivation, processing and sale of hemp in their state.

Sean Mack attorney at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden quoted in superlawyers.com article, “What You Need to Apply for a Cannabis License in New Jersey.” The article explains the steps to apply for a cannabis license in New Jersey.

“That said, New Jersey is limiting the number of licenses it gives out, says Sean Mack, an attorney who advises businesses in the cannabis space. So if you’re considering seeking a license, you want to make sure you make the best possible case in your application. “

To read the full article, please click here.

On Wednesday, October 2, NJ Advance Media will host a seminar diving deeper into the issues and stories at the forefront of NJ.com's Cannabis Insider coverage. Attorney Sean Mack will be a speaker at the event.

Program: 2019 NJ Cannabis Insider Event Series

October 2, 2019- 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center
97 Sunfield Ave
Edison, NJ 08837

For more information on the event and how to register, click here.

On September 25, 2019, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of HR 1595, the SAFE Banking Act.  Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of the bill, with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans.

If enacted into law, the SAFE Banking Act would allow financial institutions to provide customary banking services to the cannabis industry. 

Under current federal law, because cannabis related activity is federally illegal, most financial institutions have not provided traditional banking services to the cannabis industry to avoid being complicit in ...

From: New Jersey Law Journal, click here to view the full article.

Your client calls and asks if she can fire (or not hire) an employee who tested positive for marijuana following the company’s routine drug test. Despite the growing popularity of cannabis stocks, you know that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so you may assume the answer is: yes, an employer should be within its rights to fire an employee using an illegal drug in violation of the company’s zero tolerance, drug free workplace policy. However, a recent court decision and a change in New Jersey’s ...

On July 22, 2019, the FDA issued a warning letter to Curaleaf, Inc. relating to statements on its website relating to claims about its CBD products.  The FDA warned that four of its products (CBD lotion, pain-relief patch, tincture and disposable vape pen) are unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs.

Despite the growing popularity of CBD products, the FDA has issued previous warning letters and made clear that it will enforce the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act (FD&C), especially when merchants make claims about the health benefits of CBD.

The FDA issued this warning because ...

On July 15, 2019, the NJ Department of Health released the application forms required to be completed to apply for medical cannabis licenses pursuant to the request for applications released last month.  Forms are available from the DOH website here.

This RFA makes available up to 24 new medical cannabis license endorsements: 2 cultivation endorsements, 5 dispensary endorsements and 1 vertically integrated permit in each of the Northern and Central Regions of the state; and 1 cultivation endorsement, 5 dispensary endorsements and 1 vertically integrated permit in the Southern ...

Earlier this year, Governor Murphy promised patients that if the legislature did not act, he would act to expand NJ’s medical marijuana program.  On June 3, 2019, Governor Murphy’s administration did just that by issuing a request for applications for up to 108 new licenses.  The licenses will be distributed across the state, and unlike prior applications, there will be up to 24 cultivation licenses, up to 30 manufacturing licenses and up to 54 dispensary licenses available.  In the prior two RFAs, applicants were required to be vertically integrated, but not this time.

Permit ...

NJ.Com is
reporting that it has received confirmation that the next round of requests for
applications for medical marijuana licenses will be released by the Department
of Health on June 3.  Stay tuned for details…

The last time
the state issued an RFA, applicants were afforded only one month from the date
of the RFA to submit their applications.  Anyone interested in this round
should already be working on their applications.

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is carefully monitoring developments in New Jersey and federally with respect to marijuana legislation and will be available to ...

Lost amidst the
cannabis news last week indicating that adult use marijuana may be heading to a
voter referendum in 2020 while medical marijuana likely will expand this year,
the Senate introduced legislation to establish NJ’s hemp program.

Under the 2018
Farm Act, the Federal Government de-scheduled hemp from the Controlled
Substances Act and authorized states to develop their own proposed rules for
establishing a hemp industry in each state.

On May 13,
2019, Senate Bill No. 3686 was introduced by Senator Sweeney and 3 other
co-sponsors.    The Bill would repeal the law passed last ...

Yesterday the House Financial Services Committee voted 45-15 (with significant bi-partisan support) to advance the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) Banking Act for a vote before the full House of Representatives, which, if enacted, will enable banks and insurance companies to service state-legal cannabis businesses.

Versions of the
SAFE Act have been introduced since 2013, but this version has 152
co-sponsors.  Because cannabis is federally illegal, most financial
institutions have been reluctant to work with state licensed cannabis
businesses for fear of violating ...

As the NJ
legislature continues to debate the legalization of adult use marijuana, the NJ
Appellate Division has issued an important decision addressing a controversial
topic – the right of employers to discipline employees who use marijuana
outside of work.

In this case,
Wild vs. Carriage Funeral Holdings, a cancer patient, who had been prescribed
medical marijuana and who used the marijuana only after work hours and at home,
was terminated after his employer learned of his medical marijuana use and
inability, therefore, to pass an employer required drug test.  The
employee then ...

Pashman Stein Walder Hayden Attorney Sean Mack quoted in New Jersey State Bar Foundation legal newspaper for kids, “The Legal Eagle,” on marijuana legalization.

“The devil is always in the details. Unlike most states, the draft legislation really gets into the details instead of leaving it to the regulators to draft rules after marijuana is legalized,” says Sean Mack, a Hackensack attorney specializing in unfair business practices resolution who helped prepare New Jersey’s marijuana reform legislation.

“Unfortunately, that also is part of the reason passage of ...

Within the last
24 hours, hopes for the passage of legislation to legalize adult use cannabis
have soared in New Jersey and soured in New York.

Governor Murphy
and state legislative leaders agreed late Monday night on the remaining terms
to for wide ranging cannabis legislation in New Jersey.  No draft bill is
currently available because the details and precise language still needs to be
crafted, but the bill will provide for expedited expungement of criminal
records for minor cannabis offenses, a flat $42 per ounce tax, and allow
municipalities to add up to 3% tax on retail sales.  ...

After months of delays, three bills are finally scheduled for hearings before the Senate and the Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee.

On November 26, 2018, the Senate and Assembly committees will consider the bill introduced by Senators Scutari and Sweeney, S2703, to legalize adult use marijuana; and bills to revise medical marijuana laws introduced by Senators Vitale, Scutari and O’Scanlan, S10 and S2426. Identical companion bills have been introduced in the assembly as well.

Rumors about these hearings have circulated for months but were delayed as legislators ...

On October 25, the C. Willard Heckel Inn of Court at Rutgers Law School starts the new semester with a presentation on New Jersey cannabis law. Sean Mack, co-chair of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden’s Litigation Group and Leader of the Firm’s Cannabis Law Group will provide an overview of the status of medical cannabis in New Jersey. Sean will be speaking on the proposed or enacted legislation to expand medical cannabis and adult use cannabis.

The program will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Rutgers Law School, Center for Law and Justice, 123 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102.

To register ...

After decades of advocates asking for cannabis to be removed as a Schedule I drug, on September 28, 2018, the DEA recognized that cannabis can have medicinal value and therefore the cannabis drug Epidiolex cannot be a Schedule I drug. Schedule I is reserved for drugs that have “no medicinal value” and have the potential to be highly addictive.

Specifically the DEA concluded that “Epidiolex no longer meets the criteria for placement in schedule I of the CSA.”

On June 25, 2018 the FDA had approved Epidiolex “for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms ...

On June 18, 2018, the NJ Department of Health published for comment its anticipated amendments to the administrative rules for NJ’s medical marijuana program.  Interested parties will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposed rules.  Comments can be submitted electronically at:    http://www.nj.gov/health/legal/ecomments.shtml,

According to a DOH press release, the new rules would make the following changes:

  • Reducing the registration fee for qualifying patients and their caregivers from $200 to $100
  • Adding seniors and military veterans to those eligible for the reduced ...

On March 28, 2018, the NJ Department of Health issued its report on medical marijuana in response to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order Number 6. The Report suggests ways that the Department intends to modify the existing Administrative Code, which the Department can do without legislative changes, and makes some recommendations to the Legislature to adopt statutory changes. Governor Murphy then announced that most of the Administrative Code changes would become effective immediately.

Among the administrative changes the Department states that it intends to take immediately ...

On March 5, 2018, Assemblymen Gusciora and Eustace introduced new legislation (Assembly Bill, No. 3437) to revise New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. The proposed legislation would make substantial changes to the existing law and address many of the roadblocks that medical marijuana advocates have complained impeded New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

The legislation would create three regions: northern, central and southern New Jersey and require at least six medical marijuana dispensaries and two cultivator-processors in each region. With the six existing ...

A Federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit challenging the scheduling of marijuana as a class I drug. Several challenges to its classification had been brought in the past and all have been unsuccessful since marijuana was classified during the Nixon administration. This lawsuit sought to demonstrate that the classification was wrong because there are medical benefits from marijuana, which means it should not be classified as class I. The criteria for class 1 drugs includes that the drug has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment and a lack of ...

Members of the NJ legislature who have been opposed to marijuana legalization introduced proposed legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill is proffered as a compromise piece of legislation intended to accomplish some of Governor Murphy’s objectives but avoids legalizing marijuana. Under the bill, a person caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana would face a fine of $100 for a first offense, and increasing fines for subsequent offenses. The goal of the bill is to reduce the number of people incarcerated and involved in the ...

While many states have moved to legalize medical marijuana and several others have legalized even recreational marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. This was never much of a problem before, because the Obama Justice Department had issued a memorandum that essentially halted the prosecution of federal marijuana prosecutions in most instances. This week, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded that memorandum and suggested that the federal government may once again crack down on federal marijuana crimes.

You can read more about it here and we will ...

Now that Phil Murphy has been elected and declared marijuana legalization to be one of his top priorities for his first 100 days, NJ Advance Media lays out what it sees as the timeline for the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/11/could_recreational_marijuana_be_legal_in_365_days.html

This week, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that expands access to medical marijuana. Specifically, those diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may now obtain a prescription for medical marijuana. When signing the bill, Governor Christie noted that up to 20% of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD and that medical marijuana should be available to them after it has been decided that conventional treatment is not working.

For more ...

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