The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) began accepting applications for adult-use cultivation, manufacturing and testing licenses Dec. 15, with plans to start accepting applications for retail licenses March 15.

The online application portal went live at 9 a.m. last Wednesday, according to an report.

“We are happy to reach this milestone,” CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said in a statement to the news outlet. “Applications are coming in, the platform is performing well, and we can officially mark the launch of the state’s recreational cannabis industry.”

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Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis and there are no deadlines for entrepreneurs to apply for licenses, reported.

New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis law established the Office of Minority, Disabled Veterans, and Women Business development to promote diversity in the industry, according to the news outlet, and applications submitted by women, minorities, veterans, those convicted of past cannabis-related offenses and those from poor communities will receive priority in the licensing process.

The CRC also created a category for Social Equity Business applicants, which are defined as entities “owned by people who have lived in an economically disadvantaged area or who have convictions for cannabis-related offenses,” reported.

Regulators define economically disadvantaged areas as those where people earn 80% or less of New Jersey’s median household income of $90,444, as well as those with an uninsured rate of one and a half times that of the rest of the state, according to the news outlet.

New Jersey also has an Impact Zone designation, which applies to communities with an average unemployment rate that is 32% higher than the rest of the state, or those that have 77% more cannabis-related arrests and a crime index of 34% or more than other areas in New Jersey, reported.