New Jersey Cannabis License Conversion: How to Secure Your Facility in Time

Hance Construction Developing Cannabis Park in Sussex County; Rare Opportunity for Conditional Licensees to Secure Qualified Facility Site by Conversion Deadlines

Are you a cannabis entrepreneur in New Jersey, working to convert your Conditional license into a Full license by the deadline?

Chances are you’re neck-deep in preparations to qualify for the conversion and are trying to secure your facility in time.

If you’re feeling squeezed for time, this article is for you. Read on to learn about some of the special requirements needed to secure your facility site in time, and how those requirements are being solved by Hance Construction with a new cannabis business park development in Sussex County.

The Race is On to Secure Your Facility in Time

Every hour counts when preparing for a Conditional Conversion.

Applicants who were granted the Conditional license to operate a cannabis business in New Jersey have limited time to line up all their details to apply for a Full license, which includes securing a facility.

Identifying your cannabis facility site is at the core of addressing all the other components required for your Full license application.

But few people realize the unique challenges around getting sites approved for this specific type of use.
Furthermore, your application for a Full license is property-specific and is non-migratable—so securing the right facility site in time is critical to your success!


Cannabis Site Requirements

Finding a site for a traditional commercial business facility in New Jersey is hard enough in this built market, but finding a cannabis-ready facility is significantly more challenging.

Art Hance, President of Hance Construction and community business leader in the Tri-State cannabis industry space, brings his years of experience in cannabis construction to assist Conditional licensees get over the major hurdle of securing a facility site in time—without wasting time.

“We continue to see people making poor choices regarding site selection,” says Hance, “not because they aren’t smart, but because there are simply so many requirements involved that make a site appropriate for operating a grow facility, along with the unique challenges with getting sites approved in New Jersey.”

Some licensees think they’ve identified a good site in a town that allows them to grow cannabis, not realizing that the site might not be able to support the impact of the operation, whether due to availability of adequate electric, water, sewer, or other considerations such as the environmental approvals required on many NJ sites.

Cannabis construction entails a very different set of rules, regulations, and considerations than building a traditional commercial warehouse or manufacturing facility.

“Most cannabis business owners don’t realize that these requirements drive the need for some really long-lead permitting processes—up to five years in some cases,” says Hance.


Example of Requirements:

Traditional Commercial Warehouse vs. Cannabis Cultivation Facility

New Jersey regulations involve five tiers of cannabis facility sizes, from 2,500 SF to 240,000 SF.

To compare the needs of a cannabis cultivation facility versus a typical commercial warehouse, let’s look at an average-sized 70,000 SF building.

A typical commercial warehouse could require 1200 amps of electricity. The same sized cannabis facility can draw 5-6 times that amount because of the lighting and cooling loads inherent in commercial cultivation.

Water usage is a critical component as well. The warehouse would need less than 2,000 gallons daily, while the cannabis facility could use 10,000 gallons for sanitary, fertigation and clean up demand.

Sewer capacity, which is based on water usage, would typically be less than 2,000 gallons which can be permitted locally.  The same sized cannabis facility requires treatment of the 10,000 gallons it uses. This requires state permits with the Department of Environmental Protection.

You’re allowed a septic system for a cannabis facility. However, if you require more than 2000 gallons per day for that septic system, you’ll need a New Jersey treatment works permit, which can take about a year to obtain.

But in order to get a treatment works permit, the property must already be listed on the Sewer Service Map.

And for a property to be listed, it can take four years to be issued.

And these permits must be in place for you to apply for local planning board approval!

Hance Construction is working to address these hurdles with a unique approach. While most people looking for sites have concentrated on towns that “Opted In,” Hance Construction approaches towns who were forced to opt out due to the lack of clear regulations at the time.

By showing towns how they would benefit from a cannabis operation, and what to plan for in a cannabis ordinance to protect the town’s interest, governing bodies are reconsidering the decision to opt out.

This approach has led to an opportunity to develop a site in Sussex County NJ.

Sussex County offers major highway access to the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania markets which broadens the base of available work force. Property cost and taxes are lower which reduces operating costs.


A New Cannabis Business Park; A Timely Solution

Hance Construction has taken the initiative to create a viable solution for licensees by developing a cannabis park in Sussex County NJ—to solve all those expensive baseline requirements with long lead-times that are needed to get a cannabis facility going right away.

“Our hope is to help cannabis licensees cut through the red tape and secure a favorable facility site” says Hance. “Our sites can be approved for various size operations and support all facets of cannabis licenses, except dispensary, to respect the town’s wishes”.

Located on a former quarry, this 37-acre sub-dividable development features the basic utilities instrumental to a cannabis operation.

The park features adequate sewer capacity in place for cannabis cultivation—saving 3-5 years permitting—as well as adequate water capacity for cultivation via on-site well or available public water.

Natural gas is available, as is an electric transmission line which allows electric to be sourced at transmission rates for a significant reduction in electric costs.

Along with the other unique features of this site, it has an updated NJDEP LOI (Letter of Interpretation delineating wetlands) in place, saving an additional 8-12 months in the permitting process.

“I have reviewed sites all over the state, sometimes with multiple applicants,” says Hance. “This site stands out, which is why we jumped at the opportunity to develop it.”


Secure Your Facility in Time

Don’t waste a single minute getting your cannabis facility lined up as soon as possible.

Contact the cannabis construction team at Hance Construction at (908) 835-3501 to make a plan to secure your facility in time for license conversion.