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What is the Process to Obtain Marijuana Dispensary Licenses in New Jersey?


May 7, 2018
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Opportunities to Apply for Recreational Marijuana Retailer Licenses and Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses are on the Horizon

New Jersey is working toward legalization of recreational marijuana and the State is actively expanding its medical marijuana program. Licensing of marijuana retailers and additional medical dispensaries will be critical components of these efforts. Two bills currently in committee give indications of how New Jersey plans to proceed with such licensing.

What is the Process for Obtaining Marijuana Dispensary Licenses in NJ?

Photo courtesy of Robert Nelson (Unsplash.com)

  • Senate Bill 830: The proposed bill, introduced by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, would allow New Jersey residents over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis, 16 ounces of infused solid products, or 72 ounces in liquid form. It would levy a seven percent tax upon cannabis and cannabis products and establish the Division of Marijuana to oversee the legal cannabis industry. S830 also creates a licensing scheme for cannabis producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, and transporters. All prospective licensees must complete application requirements, meet residency requirements, and undergo a criminal history record background check. The bill would require at least one dispensary in each county, but does not cap the number of dispensaries. SB 830 is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
  • Assembly Bill 3581: Sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, A3581 is similar to Sen. Scutari’s bill in several respects. A3581 would legalize possession, personal use, cultivation, manufacture and distribution of small amounts of marijuana for persons age 21 and over, would create the Division of Marijuana Enforcement, and would establish a similar licensing structure for growers, transporters, and dispensaries. However, A3581 would also allow New Jersey residents to grow up to six cannabis plants in an enclosed space at their home, and would also impose lower taxes than S830. In addition, A3581 contains provisions that would allow for licensing of 15 marijuana cultivators for the first two years the law is effective, divided evenly among northern, central and southern New Jersey, and an additional 10 cultivators after the first two years.A3581 would also authorize as many as 400 retail marijuana dispensaries, 10 in each of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts, with a minimum of two dispensaries in each. The bill is currently pending before the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee.

Expansion of Medical Marijuana in NJ

As discussed in greater detail in a prior article, Gov. Murphy issued an executive order shortly after his inauguration directing the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) to conduct a comprehensive review of the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). The DOH recently issued a report setting forth more than 20 recommendations. Of these, several have been implemented with immediate effect, including the addition of five new categories of medical conditions (anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain) to the list of qualifying conditions eligible for marijuana prescription, reduction of fees for patients, and allowing existing medical Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) to apply to open satellite locations. Other recommendations by the DOH pertain to regulatory changes that will go through the rulemaking process and proposals that require legislative approval.

If you are interested in learning more about Assembly Bill No. 3740 and No. 3437, which are relevant to the expansion of medical marijuana in New Jersey, a PDF containing specific details regarding both bills can be found by clicking (Information on proposed Medical Marijuana bills in New Jersey). An additional PDF which includes a summary of the bills can be found by clicking (Summary of the proposed Medical Marijuana bills in New Jersey).

Opportunities to apply for recreational marijuana retailer licenses and medical marijuana dispensary licenses are on the horizon. The Scarinci Hollenbeck Cannabis Law Practice group will be continuously tracking developments and all relevant. We encourage current and prospective members of the New Jersey cannabis industry to check back regularly for updates.

If you have any questions, please contact us

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

This article is a part of a series pertaining to cannabis legalization in New Jersey and the United States at large. Prior articles in this series are below:

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