Certificate in Cannabis Law and Business

Are you:

  • An entrepreneur getting ready to apply for your cannabis business license?
  • A licensed small business owner who needs to stay fully compliant with industry regulations
  • A purpose-driven self-starter looking to build your career in a fast-moving industry?

You need hands-on knowledge of the developing regulations and procedures that govern New Jersey's legal cannabis industry. We can help.

Program information
  • Summary
  • Dates and Cost
  • Module Descriptions
  • Instructors
  • Program Policies
Summary

Rutgers Law School's Certificate in Cannabis Law and Business is a six-month program for entrepreneurs and license holders. It provides you with in-depth knowledge of key issues relating to the rules and regulations of New Jersey's legal cannabis industry so that you can run a fully compliant cannabis business.

  • Learn from expert faculty from across Rutgers and professionals working in cannabis law and compliance
  • Combine convenient online classes with two in-person sessions to build your network
  • Take courses developed specifically for New Jersey's state regulations
  • Choose from electives for cultivators and retailers to get the knowledge that's right for your business
  • Take individual modules or earn the full certificate: whatever's right for your time and your budget
  • Showcase your achievement with a digital badge for your website and social media

Register for the certificate with the elective for cultivators.

Register for the certificate with the elective for retailers.

You can also purchase individual modules. See the 'Module descriptions' tab for more information.

Questions? Email Vanessa Williams.

Dates and Cost

Dates: January - July 2023
The program meets on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. via Zoom, with two in-person sessions at the beginning and end of the program. There are two week-long breaks. See the Module Descriptions for specific dates.

Certificate cost: $2,695
By purchasing the full certificate, you'll receive a digital badge, feedback on a capstone project to use in your business, and a significant discount compared to purchasing individual modules.

Register for the certificate with the elective for cultivators.

Register for the certificate with the elective for retailers.

You can also register for individual modules: see the Module Descriptions tab for individual module pricing.

Scholarships are available for Social Equity license applicants. Email Vanessa Williams for more information on applying for scholarships.

Module Descriptions

Module 1: Fundamentals of cannabis regulation in New Jersey

12 hours: January 28, February 1, February 8
Module price: $600

To start the program, we’ll review the history and development of New Jersey’s medical and recreational cannabis industries, as well as the broader national and international context, before getting into the specifics of New Jersey’s CREAMM Act (including the difference between cannabis and marijuana under New Jersey law) and New Jersey’s revised Medical Marijuana law. We’ll clarify key legal terminology and look at the ways in which the rules and processes established by the Act affect how you set up and run your business, including business types, priority applicants, the differences between conditional and annual licenses, and the requirement that licensed business employ NJ-certified cannabis handlers.

Module 2: Regulatory compliance

12 hours: February 15, February 22, March 1, March 8
Module price: $600

Once you’ve opened your doors, you need to make sure that you protect your license by running a compliant business. Whether you’ve created your own standard operating procedures or worked with a consultant, you’ll need to ensure you adhere to them and maintain compliance in a wide range of areas, including inventory control and use of METRC, audit processes, and more. This module will look at some of these topics, and the ways in which you need to be able to find the latest information and update your processes as the state’s regulations develop.

Module 3: Cannabis business operations

18 hours: March 15, March 22, March 29, April 12, April 19, April 26
Module price: $850

This module is focused on the specific challenges and rules associated with operations for businesses in New Jersey’s cannabis industry. This includes how to create and execute branding strategies, and the specific legal rules that apply to branding in this industry; the special challenges associated with banking and federal tax compliance; and the many rules with which your marketing must apply, both the rules that apply specifically to the cannabis industry and those that apply to all foods. We’ll also cover how business agreements—for example licensing, supply, and consulting agreements—should be structured so that they can be reliably enforced, even in the face of federal illegality. Finally, we’ll discuss the ways in which you need to be thinking about protecting your intellectual property.

Module 4: Locations and local government

12 hours: May 3, May 10, May 17, May 24
Module price: $600

Navigating zoning and land use restrictions are major topics for cannabis business owners. This module will review the legal rules that you need to know and some strategies for making your property searches within these rules more effective. We’ll look at other types of land use regulations that might affect your property use, like the Pinelands Protection Act. We’ll also discuss the structures of local governments, the tools you can use to learn the specifics of your municipality’s rules, and what happens when municipalities “opt out” as permitted by the CREAMM Act.

Module 5: Choose ONE from:

Topics for cultivators

12 hours: June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28
Module price: $600

In this elective module, we’ll cover topics specific to controlled environment cultivation operations, including plant tracking, New Jersey’s pesticide and agriculture rules, and Certificates of Analysis and the blockchain.

Topics for retailers

12 hours: June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28
Module price: $600

In this elective module, we’ll cover topics specific to retail businesses. These include more specific considerations on zoning, physical safety and security, product packaging, Cannabis Consumption Areas, “dram shop” liability, and dealing with minors. We will pay special attention to techniques for effective community relations.

Module 6: Capstone

12 hours: July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, July 29
Module price: $600. Only available for full certificate participants

As the certificate wraps up, you’ll bring together what you’ve learned and apply it to a project that will make an immediate impact on your business. Whether you’re working on your business plan, license application, marketing materials, or an investor pitch-deck, you’ll receive feedback from our faculty as you put together your project. The final course meeting will give you the opportunity to showcase your project and see the work of your peers, gaining valuable experience and feedback.

Instructors

The certificate will be taught by Rutgers University faculty and experts working in New Jersey's cannabis industry. We'll also be joined by a range of guest speakers.

Instructors:

  • Professor William McNichol, Esq.
    Rutgers Law School
  • Professor Ryan Magee, Esq.
    Rutgers Law School
    Partner, Riker Danzig
  • Professor Thomas Gianfagna
    Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
  • Professor Connie Pascal
    Rutgers University School of Communication and Information
  • Peter McAliney
    Director of Executive Education, Rutgers-Camden Business School
  • Chirali Patel, Esq.
    Blaze Law Firm

Guest speakers include:*

  • Jessica Gonzalez, Esq.
    Associate, Hiller PC
  • Mollie Lustig, Esq.
    Co-chair, McLaughlin & Stern's cannabis group
  • Khadijah Tribble
    Senior Vice President, Curaleaf
  • Lyneir Richardson
    Executive Director of Rutgers Business School's Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

* Note: guest speakers subject to change

Program Policies

Refund policy
Cancellations and transfers will be accepted without charge if written notification is received any time up to 10 business days prior to the program start date. Cancellations or transfers made on or after that time are subject to the full cost of the program. Registrants who fail to attend and do not cancel prior to the start date will be responsible for the full cost of the program. Credit toward a future session will not be granted.

Course fees
Purchasing all six modules in the certificate at the same time entitles you to pay the certificate fee of $2,695. You can also purchase modules individually at the per-module prices. You can purchase modules individually and complete the certificate over multiple semesters; however, you will not be able to switch to the certificate price after you have taken your first module.

Earning the certificate
To earn the full certificate and receive a digital badge, participants must miss no more than 6 hours of instruction. These six hours cannot be either of the in-person sessions. They must receive a grade of ‘Pass’ for their capstone. More information on the capstone will be provided at the start of the program.

Group discounts
If three or more people from the same organization register for the full certificate at the same time as part of the same transaction, they are eligible for a 10% discount. Email Vanessa Williams for more information on group registrations.

Technology requirements
The online sessions will meet via Zoom. You will need a device (ideally a computer or laptop) with a reliable internet connection, web camera, microphone, and speakers or headphones. Additional content will be provided via our Canvas platform, which can be accessed via any web browser.

In-person sessions
There are two in-person sessions for the certificate (the first and last sessions). These will meet at Rutgers Law School in either Camden, Newark, or both. The location will be determined based on the locations of the participants in order to maximize convenience for all participating.

Course changes/cancellations
We reserve the right to cancel a course entirely or to change its time, location or instructor. In the event a course for which you have registered is canceled, you will be notified. If we are unable to substitute a suitable replacement for a canceled course, you will be refunded all tuition and fees you have paid for the course.

Age requirements
All participants in the program must be 21 years of age or over. This is because of the New Jersey cannabis license requirements, which state that people with decision-making authority over their business license must be 21 or older. As this program prepares business owners to enter the industry, we have adopted the same age requirements.

Questions?
Email Vanessa Williams with any questions.