As the medical marijuana industry in New Jersey expands and becomes more competitive, dispensaries will be able to post their prices. The New Jersey Department of Health recently announced that the state’s six existing Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) can now publicly list medical marijuana prices on their websites and social media accounts.

[caption id="attachment_25755" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo courtesy of Jacalyn Beales ([/caption]

“Medical marijuana patients should benefit from online price information just as shoppers do when they buy a car, a plane ticket or any other consumer goods,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a press statement. “We hope that ATCs take this opportunity to communicate this information to patients. This is part of our ongoing effort to make the Medicinal Marijuana Program more consumer-friendly for patients and caregivers and less restrictive to ATCs.”

The clarification is necessary because the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act currently restricts advertising. The statute provides that ATCs may not advertise the price of marijuana, with the exception that an ATC can provide a catalog or a printed list of the prices and strains of medicinal marijuana available at the alternative treatment center to registered qualifying patients and primary caregivers.

Under the new guidance, each ATC can decide what, if any, price information to post on their websites. So far, all of the existing dispensaries have taken advantage of the new guidance or have plans to do so.

Expansion of NJ Medical Marijuana Program

The decision to allow ATCs to post their prices reflects the rapid growth of the medical marijuana program under Gov. Phil Murphy. Approximately 33,000 patients are currently enrolled, which is about double the number enrolled in January. Since patients must typically pay for medical cannabis out-of-pocket, cost matters to them. In addition, it will make even more sense to shop around once the number of dispensaries doubles.

As discussed in greater detail in a prior article, the state is moving forward with efforts to add six additional ATCs — two in each of the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of New Jersey. The state’s decision to double the number of dispensaries represents a significant opportunity for businesses seeking to enter New Jersey’s legal marijuana industry, and the response has been overwhelming.

Approvals for New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Delayed

The New Jersey Department of Health recently notified ATC applicants that it will need additional time to review the 146 applications it received in response to its request to add up to six additional ATCs. The agency had previously stated that it would announce the successful applicants on November 1, 2018.

“Each of the reviewers must read more than 40,000 pages of material (each application averages 300 pages),” the DOH stated. “The reviewers are working as quickly as possible, and the Department will announce the successful applicants as soon as the review is complete.”

The good news is that businesses that are not selected will have a head start the next time around. According to the DOH, it plans to release two additional Requests for Applications in the coming months. The first will be for additional cultivators and manufacturers, and the second for additional dispensary locations.

For entities that are interested in entering the New Jersey cannabis industry, there are numerous legal, logistical and operational issues that must be addressed. Prospective ATC applicants should contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss this process in greater detail.

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:

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.