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New Jersey Department of Health Approves Six ATC Licenses


December 18, 2018
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New Jersey Department of Health Recently Approved Six ATC Licenses, Doubling the Number of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in New Jersey

On December 17, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) announced that has initially approved six new alternative treatment centers (ATCs). The approval will effectively double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey.

New Jersey Department of Health Approves Six ATC Licenses
Photo courtesy of Get Budding (Unsplash.com)

“Six very strong applicants were selected, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said. “We will meet with them early next year to refine their timetable for growing product and opening their doors.”

Approval of New ATCs in New Jersey

As a reminder, the DOH’s Request for Applications sought two new dispensaries in the northern, southern and central regions. In total, 146 applicants sought ATC licenses from the State via the application process conducted over the summer.

This fall, the DOH informed applicants that it would need additional time to review the overwhelming number of applications it received. The agency had previously stated that it would announce the successful applicants on November 1, 2018.

In determining which applicants would move on through the licensing process, the DOH used a specific methodology under which certain criteria were weighted on a 1000-point scale. Key criteria include the ability to handle all aspects of the cannabis industry, with cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensary operations accounting for 300 points. The ability to demonstrate prior business experience and compliance is also important. (225 points total).

The six applicants selected by the DOH are:

Name

Region

Proposed Location

NETA NJ, LLC

North

Phillipsburg

GTI New Jersey, LLC

North

Paterson

Verano NJ LLC

Central

Elizabeth (dispensary)

Rahway (cultivation site)

Justice Grown

Central

Ewing

MPX New Jersey

South

Atlantic City (dispensary)

Galloway (cultivation site)

Columbia Care New Jersey

South

Vineland

It is important to note that an approved application is one of the many steps required to gain a license and the ultimate approval to open and operate an ATC. As highlighted by the DOH, permission to operate is granted to successful applicants only after the agency completes a series of reviews and inspections of their facilities, procedures and products. Prior to obtaining approval to grow medical marijuana, the six applicants now must pass background checks, provide evidence of a dispensary location and municipal approval, and comply with all regulations under the Division of Medical Marijuana, including safety and security requirements.

What’s on Tap for the New Jersey Cannabis Industry in 2019?

Our existing and prospective cannabis clients intend to pursue licenses in the industry in 2019.  It will be a very busy year in the cannabis space – votes by the full New Jersey Legislature regarding the formal expansion of the medical program and the establishment of the adult-use program will likely occur in January. Additional rounds of licensing on both sides of the New Jersey industry will likely take place later in the year. Under rules proposed this summer but not yet finalized, medical marijuana providers would be authorized to grow, process or sell marijuana, but not be required to do all three. 

New York is also quickly catching up to New Jersey, which will push progress and competition. In a dramatic shift in policy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made marijuana legalization a top priority for his first 100 days of 2019. If New York legalizes recreational cannabis, it will become the 11th state (and second largest behind California) to take that step.

If you have 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.