Currently, there are six alternative treatment centers (aka medical marijuana dispensaries) in New Jersey, but that number is soon to double. On July 16, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health Division of Medicinal Marijuana issued a Request for Applications for up to six more medical dispensaries. The six licenses will be divided evenly throughout the state: two in the northern region, two in central region, and two in the southern region.
Importantly, while all current medical marijuana licensees are required to be non-profit corporations, the six new licenses can be issued to either non-profit or for-profit corporations. The “vertical integration” requirement remains in place, however. Vertical integration means that each licensee is responsible for cultivating, manufacturing, and dispensing marijuana. While advocates are pushing for the ability for separate licenses to be issued for each of these functions, those changes have not yet happened. Thus, the six new licenses are for vertically integrated operations only.
DOH anticipates that after its new rules have been adopted, it will release a request for applications in Fall 2018 for separate cultivator and manufacturer licenses. Then, in Winter 2019, it anticipates issuing additional licenses for stand-alone dispensaries. This rapid growth is due to the fact that 500 new patients a week are signing up for medical marijuana.
Those who are interested must act fast, as DOH has set an expedited timetable to meet the rapidly growing needs of medical marijuana patients. Applications will be available on DOH’s website on August 1, 2018. Applications are due on August 31, 2018, but every applicant must attend a “Mandatory Pre-Application Conference” on Thursday, August 9, 2018. Applicants who do not attend that conference will not be permitted to submit an application.
The Request for Applications provides detailed instructions about the type of information that must be contained within each application and how the applications are scored. We suggest working closely with an attorney to complete your application.
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is carefully monitoring developments in New Jersey and federally with respect to marijuana legislation and will be available to help its clients navigate the sure-to-be complex regulatory framework of this potential business frontier.