Murphy Administration Takes Action To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
Earlier this year, Governor Murphy promised patients that if the legislature did not act, he would act to expand NJ’s medical marijuana program. On June 3, 2019, Governor Murphy’s administration did just that by issuing a request for applications for up to 108 new licenses. The licenses will be distributed across the state, and unlike prior applications, there will be up to 24 cultivation licenses, up to 30 manufacturing licenses and up to 54 dispensary licenses available. In the prior two RFAs, applicants were required to be vertically integrated, but not this time.
Permit application forms will be released on July 1 and applications will be due on August 15. Questions about the RFA can be submitted to the DOH until July 5 and a webinar will be held on July 16 to “review the RFA process and the most commonly submitted questions” according to the State’s press release.
The request for applications describing the application requirements and scoring details is available on the Division’s website.
Specifically licenses will be available for 8 cultivation endorsements in each of the Northern region, Central Region and Southern Region and 10 manufacturing endorsements in each of the three regions. Both the Northern and Central Region are eligible for 20 dispensary endorsements, while the southern region may have up to 14 endorsements. Importantly, cultivation licenses are further restricted based on canopy size: up to 15 licenses for up to 5,000 square feet; 6 licenses for 5,001 to 20,000 square feet, and 3 licenses for 20,001 to 30,000 square feet.
Applicants are limited to submitting 3 applications and can only submit 1 each for manufacturing and cultivation endorsements. Awards are limited to 3 per entity, but no entity is permitted to hold more than 1 cultivation, 1 manufacturing, and 3 dispensary endorsements based on this RFA. The six existing ATCs, and the six approved in the 2018 RFA process, are deemed to have 1 cultivation, 1 manufacturing and 1 dispensary endorsement; meaning they can apply for additional dispensary locations but not for additional manufacturing or cultivation sites.
Many of the criteria to be judged are the same as the last round of applications. But importantly, the DOH is now requiring applicants to explain how their choice of location, especially for dispensary locations, will expand patient access to medical marijuana. Applicants also must submit signed labor peace agreements with their applications.
So this summer, like last summer, promises to be a very busy time for those interested in medical marijuana licenses.
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.