New Jersey Continues to Expand Medical Marijuana Program

New Jersey’s Department of Health announced on Monday that it’s expanding the state’s medical-marijuana program.

 

 

“The New Jersey Department of Health is seeking new applicants to operate up to 24 additional Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs): Up to 8 in the northern region of the state, up to 8 in the central region, up to 7 in the southern region, and up to 1 “at-large” to be determined during the award process”, says the New Jersey Department of Health. “Three types of permits/endorsements will be available for ATCs: cultivation, dispensing and vertically integrated permits. In total, the Department will seek up to 5 cultivation endorsements, up to 15 dispensary endorsements, and up to 4 vertically integrated permits.”

Vertically integrated permits include “1 cultivation endorsement, 1 manufacturing endorsement, and 1 dispensary endorsement.”  Applicants may seek up to 3 endorsements total, and may only submit one application per region.  Applicants for vertically integrated permits, because they constitute 3 endorsements, may only submit one application total.  Application forms will be posted on or before July 15th and applications will be due on August 21st (Dispensary) and August 22nd (Cultivation and Vertically Integrated).

The applications are due on August 22 and cost $20,000 to apply, though failed applicants will receive a reimbursement of $18,000.

All applicants “must submit a security plan and an environmental impact statement,” and demonstrate “experience in cultivating, manufacturing or retailing marijuana and provide quality control and assurance plans,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

According to High Times, the permit expansion was put in motion earlier this month when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a bill to grant an additional 24 licenses. It’s part of an ongoing effort by Murphy to dramatically expand access to medical marijuana in the state.

“Medical cannabis has been legal in New Jersey since early 2010 when outgoing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine signed the measure into law on his final day in office. But for years, the program suffered from low enrollment due to the law’s strict requirements. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who succeeded Corzine, was a vocal opponent to medical marijuana, calling it a “front for legalization.”

“What there’s a huge demand for is marijuana. Not medical marijuana,” Christie said in the summer of 2014. “Because when we run a medically based program, you don’t see the demand.”

“But under Murphy, who was elected governor in 2017, the state has made an effort to expand the medical cannabis program, with growing calls to also legalize recreational use”, says High Times. “Earlier this month, Murphy signed bill A20, also known as “Jake’s Law” after seven-year-old Jake Honig who died last year from brain cancer. The law brings a number of changes and expansions to the medical marijuana program, including raising the monthly limit for patients from two ounces to three ounces, and allowing edibles to be prescribed to adults (previously, they were only available to minors). ”

“I am proud to stand with my legislative partners as we break down barriers to ensure this life-changing medical treatment is affordable and accessible for those who need it most,” Murphy said at the signing ceremony.

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