In 2010, the State of New Jersey legalized medical marijuana. However, the implementation of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act has been slow, in large part due to the onerous requirements placed on patients and alternative treatment centers seeking to dispense medical marijuana.New Jersey’s first alternative treatment center (ATC) opened in 2012, with two more launching operations in 2013. To date, there are only five licensed medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state, with one more in the pipeline. While the state is not currently accepting applications to open additional ATCs, it is due to re-evaluate the need to grant additional licenses. In addition, ongoing legislative action to broaden the state’s medical marijuana program may clear the way for new dispensaries. In the event that new dispensaries are to be approved, parties interested in opening dispensaries will need to be familiar and comply with several requirements.

Obtaining a Marijuana Business License

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act mandates that at least two ATCs be licensed in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State. Under the statute, the first two centers issued a permit in each region must be nonprofit entities, while centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities.

The New Jersey Department of Health requires that entities seeking to obtain an ATC license have a comprehensive business plan. In addition to traditional financial information, applicants must provide details regarding how they plan to track patient data, maintain security at the dispensary, and address the other unique concerns involved with dispensing marijuana.

Required Documents

Below are several types of documents that must be provided in connection with the required Permitting Request Form:

  • Governing corporate documents
  • Financial statements
  • Compensation plans
  • Description of long-term debt
  • Contracts with suppliers
  • Statutory and regulators violations
  • Litigation history
  • Charitable contributions
  • Tax returns

Applicants are required to complete Personal Disclosure Forms, which seek employment, educational, family, and other personal data. Each applicant seeking a permit to operate as an ATC must also submit to fingerprinting and undergo a criminal history record background check. The requirements apply to all owners, directors, officers, and employees. The ATC must also provide written verification of approval by the community or governing body of the municipality in which the ATC entity is or will be located.

Under the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, the Department of Public Health must approve or deny an application within 60 days after receipt of a completed application. The denial of an application is considered a final agency decision, subject to review by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. 

The Bottom Line

The foregoing is only a summary of the procedural requirements related to medical marijuana dispensary licenses in New Jersey. Persons interested in the application process should contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss this process in greater detail.

This article is a part of a series that is covering medical marijuana in New Jersey and the potential of its legalization for recreational use. For more on this topic, check out:

Otherwise, if you have any questions or would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan McKillop, at 201-806-3364.

Disclaimer: Possession, use, distribution, and/or sale of cannabis is a Federal crime and is subject to related Federal policy. Legal advice provided by Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC is designed to counsel clients regarding the validity, scope, meaning, and application of existing and/or proposed cannabis law. Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC will not provide assistance in circumventing Federal or state cannabis law or policy, and advice provided by our office should not be construed as such.