New Jersey Story Archive

 New Jersey Opens 13 Cannabis Dispensaries for Recreational Use

Courtesy of Dave Kovaleski, Financial Regulation News

June 2022 – The State of New Jersey joins the ranks of states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Starting April 21, New Jersey residents and visitors to the state who are 21 years and older can purchase recreational cannabis and cannabis products at 13 dispensaries across New Jersey. The 13 dispensaries have been open, serving patients in the stateʻs Medicinal Cannabis Program. But now, they will open their doors to the broader public.

“We expect 13 locations for the entire state will make for extremely busy stores,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, said. “The dispensaries have assured us that they are ready to meet the demand without disrupting patient access and with minimal impact on the surrounding communities, but patience will be key to a good opening day.”

The 13 dispensaries are Apothecarium in both Maplewood and Phillipsburg; Ascend Wellness in Rochelle Park; RISE in both Bloomfield and Paterson; Zen Leaf in both Elizabeth and Lawrence Township; The Botanist in both Egg Harbor Township and Williamstown; The Cannabist/Columbia Care in both Deptford and Vineland; and Curaleaf in both Bellmawr and Edgewater Park.

Recreational cannabis customers will be able to buy up to 1 ounce of dried flower; up to 5 grams of concentrates, resins, or oils; or 10 100mg packages of ingestible items in a single transaction. “We encourage everyone to be safe – buy only from licensed dispensaries and start low and go slow. Remember that the laws against impaired driving apply to being high,” Brown said. “Our guests from neighboring states should remember it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines.”

The dispensaries are required to put policies in place so that registrants in New Jersey’s Medicinal Cannabis Program do not have to wait in long lines or risk not getting their medicine. Facilities are expected to implement special lines or hours, online ordering, curbside pick-up, or home delivery to ensure patient access is uninterrupted.

The cannabis companies will be assessed on diversity in hiring and management, support for community programs, and the percentage of minority-owned vendors or suppliers with which they contract, among other things.

“We know that drug prohibition laws have through history disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities – and continue to do so,” Wesley McWhite III, NJ-CRC’s director of Diversity and Inclusion, said. “A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership, and these companies that have been benefitting from the market for the past 12 years – and are now expanding into the lucrative recreational space – have a role in helping to accomplish that. Making the standards and the grades public ensures customers, stakeholders, advocates, and the general public have a clear picture of the equity and diversity efforts in the New Jersey market.”

New Jersey FCU That Aims to Serve Formerly Incarcerated People Is Approved for Charter Application

Courtesy of


May 2022 – NCUA has extended its approval for a new charter application for Diverge, a proposed federal credit union that says its mission is to advance economic empowerment for historically marginalized and unbanked communities.

In a statement announcing the approval, organizers said, “Discrimination in financial services is a significant problem for millions of formerly incarcerated individuals, and especially impacts people of color and women. An unwelcoming financial system forces people to rely on check cashers, payday lenders and other high-cost, non-bank alternatives.”

Organizers added that the proposed Diverge FCU will address systemic discrimination by improving access to affordable products and financial education to help people build long-term financial health.

“I’d like to commend the team behind Diverge PFCU’s charter application. Their concept is an example of true financial inclusion, and it’s also an example of why reforming NCUA’s chartering process is one of my top priorities,” said NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle S. Hauptman in a statement.

How to Join

Individuals, businesses, and other organizations can join the proposed new credit union through approved membership organizations, including First Step Alliance, whose membership is broadly open to formerly incarcerated people, their families, and supporters, organizers said.

Future credit union members will be able to access their accounts online and with a mobile banking app, as well as through a large fee-free ATM network, organizers further stated, adding that future CU staff will provide more personalized service by phone and at planned branch locations.

“Justice-involved individuals are frequently shut out of mainstream banking, forcing them to use high-cost, often predatory non-bank providers,” said Nancy Eiden, founder and board chair for First Step Alliance. “Everyone deserves a fair chance to restart their lives, and access to financial services is an integral part of successful reentry.”

First Harvest Credit Union and Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity Celebrate Dedication of Nonprofit’s 50th Home


December 14, 2021 —On Tuesday, December 14, First Harvest Credit Union joined Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity at a dedication ceremony for the 50th home built and purchased through the nonprofit organization. First Harvest serves as the financing agency for the mortgage on the Glassboro home, as well as many other Gloucester County Habitat homes.

“First Harvest Credit Union is proud to help Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity give hardworking families the opportunity to achieve the goal of affordable homeownership,” said Ernest Huggard, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Harvest Credit Union. “The organization’s mission is consistent with our own commitment to social responsibility as we support and improve the communities we serve.”

NJ Department of Banking and Insurance Receives Reaccreditation from National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors
Department Has Received Accreditation in Insurance, Banking

August 18, 2021 — Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced today that the department has received reaccreditation in both insurance and banking, which certifies that the department meets the national standards and practices set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) accreditation program reviews state insurance departments every five years to ensure they meet financial solvency oversight standards. The department received the final results of the Accreditation Review for the Insurance Division on Friday, August 13th, with accreditation granted during the NAIC Summer National Meeting. In 2020, the department received accreditation from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) following a comprehensive review of the Banking Division. The CSBS reviews state banking departments every five years.

“The reaccreditation of the department gives consumers and the entities we regulate the confidence that our banking and insurance divisions meet national regulatory standards and have the resources and expertise to carry out the department’s mission,” said Commissioner Caride.


CrossState Joins Coalitions to Advance Immunity Legislation in NJ and PA
AUG 27, 2020—CrossState, along with other New Jersey and Pennsylvania trade associations, businesses, and organizations, wrote in support of legislation that would provide liability protections for healthcare practitioners and individuals providing business services from personal injury resulting from exposure to COVID-19 while on their premises. (Sign-in required to read)

Governor signs prize-linked savings measure
Jan. 19, 2016 — Trenton — Legislation which authorizes New Jersey credit unions and banks to offer savings promotions, also known as “prize-linked savings accounts,” was signed into law Jan. 19 by Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Prize-linked savings heads to governor’s desk
Dec. 18, 2015
— Trenton – Legislation that would authorize New Jersey credit unions and banks to offer savings promotions, also known as “prize-linked savings accounts,” passed the NJ Assembly yesterday by a 67-0 vote. The state Senate approved the measure May 18. The bill must be signed by the governor before it becomes law.

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