New Jersey wants more of its citizens to have access to medical marijuana, and the state is prepared to issue new licenses to make sure it happens. On June 3, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Health announced its plans to issue up to 108 new licenses for “Alternative Treatment Centers” where New Jersey citizens can obtain medical marijuana. The expansion will distribute the new licenses among three regions within the state (38 in the northern region, 38 in the central, and 32 in the southern). Newly introduced with this expansion, the state will issue licenses that specifically designate a licensee as a processor, grower, or retailer. Previously, all licenses had been vertically integrated. Of the 108 new licenses, 54 are for retailers, 30 for processors, and 24 for growers.

The new licenses are needed to provide greater access to affordable therapy given the projected increase in marijuana users throughout the state. New Jersey has approximately 50,000 medical marijuana patients but only six dispensaries. And in March 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health expanded the list of qualifying diagnoses for medical marijuana, bringing the total to 19. With the increase in qualifying conditions, the number of patients is expected to continue to rise. New Jersey’s nine-fold increase in dispensaries should allow patients to be treated efficiently and effectively, and the new processer and grower licenses will ensure the necessary product is available.

The application window will be open from July 1 to August 15. There is currently no projected timeline for when applicants will receive decisions from the Department of Health. Applicants, however, will want to act as soon as possible to ensure that their application is properly completed and that it can be submitted with as much time as possible for the government to review it. We are following these developments closely and are happy to discuss any needs you may have in New Jersey.