NJ DOH Presses Pause on Medicinal Marijuana Program RFA
The NJ DOH Has Removed the Medicinal Marijuana Program RFA Previously Published on June 3, 2019
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) still plans to seek applications for new Alternative Treatments Centers (ATCs) beginning in July 2019. However, it has removed the Request for Applications (RFA) previously published on June 3, 2019. According to a statement on the DOH website, an amended Request for Applications will be posted on July 1, 2019.
Gov. Murphy and Legislature Reach Compromise
As discussed in greater detail in prior articles, both the New Jersey Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy want to expand the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program. On June 3, the DOH issued a Request for Applications seeking new applicants to operate up to 108 additional ATCs, including up to 24 cultivation endorsements, up to 30 manufacturing endorsements, and up to 54 dispensary endorsements.
The New Jersey Legislature subsequently introduced and passed Assembly Bill 20/Senate Bill 20, which reflects a compromise between Gov. Murphy and the Legislature on key issues. Notably, it transfers medical marijuana oversight from the Department of Health’s jurisdiction to a new five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, a move that Gov. Murphy has opposed. It also caps the total number of entities authorized to cultivate medical cannabis at 28 for the first 18 months after the effective date of the bill, which is higher than limits established in prior medical marijuana legislation but less than the recent RFA.
A20 includes several provisions that exempt RFAs published prior to the effective date of the bill. The restriction on vertical integration will not apply to up to four ATCs issued permits after the effective date of the bill pursuant to a request for applications published in the New Jersey Register prior to the effective date of the bill, which will be deemed to hold medical cannabis cultivator, medical cannabis manufacturer, and medical cannabis dispensary permits. In addition, applications submitted pursuant to a previously published RFA will not be subject to the bill’s new application criteria.
New RFA in the Works
Given the exemptions for existing RFAs, it makes sense that Gov. Murphy has yet to sign A20 and is moving quickly to publish a new RFA on July 1. The exact details of the new RFA have yet to be released. However, it is likely that the number of licenses will be less than 108.
The Scarinci Hollenbeck Cannabis Law Group will post an update once the RFA is released. In the meantime, entities that are interested in entering the New Jersey medical cannabis industry can still start your preparations. There are numerous legal, logistical and operational issues that must be addressed, and time is of the essence.
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:
- Bill to Expand NJ Medicinal Marijuana Program Heads to Gov. Murphy
- New Jersey Assembly Approves Medical Marijuana Bill
- Big Changes Coming to the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program
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.