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Medical Cannabis Dispensary Expansion Sought By Gov. Murphy

Today, the Murphy Administration announced it is seeking up to six new applicants for medical cannabis dispensary expansion, with two dispensaries each in North, Central, and South Jersey.

They would be in addition to the six dispensaries currently operating in the state.

Improving the New Jersey Medical Cannabis Program

“We look forward to the opening of six new dispensaries so we can ensure that all qualifying patients who want access to medicinal marijuana can have it,’’ said Governor Phil Murphy. “Due to the steps that Commissioner Elnahal and I have taken since January, we have seen the addition of 10,000 new patients. Accordingly, we have to expand the number of businesses who are growing product and serving patients.”

Patients on #MedicalMarijuana need access to affordable strains that work for them, closer to home.

That’s why @NJDeptofHealth is asking for more dispensaries to open in NJ.

Today we announce an opportunity for 6 new dispensaries- learn more below!https://t.co/v7hkySKbb9

— Shereef Elnahal, MD (@ShereefElnahal) July 16, 2018

A Request for Applications (RFA) was released and notes that applicants would have to operate a seed-to-sale style operation with a dispensary and facilities for cultivation, manufacturing along with dispensing. It is also a requirement to provide evidence of site control and proof for approval of the governing body in the municipality where they intend to operate. The dispensary can be either nonprofit or for-profit. The RFA is available at: http://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/ATC_RFA_July2018.pdf.

Applicants can submit applications for more than one region. But they must submit a separate application for each region. The fee for applying is $20,000, although $18,000 of that fee will be returned to unsuccessful applicants.

The Department will electronically accept questions until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7 from all potential applicants via email at mmpquestions@doh.nj.gov. Applications are due Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Applicants chosen to proceed in the permitting process will be announced on Nov. 1, 2018.

The six currently operating ATCs are not eligible to participate in this application process. Existing ATCs already have the opportunity to add additional sites for cultivating, manufacturing, and dispensing. Additional opportunities to apply to build cultivating, manufacturing, and dispensing sites will be available in the future.

New Jersey Medical Cannabis Expansion Steady

Currently, more than 25,000 patients, 1,000 caregivers, and 700 physicians are participating in the program. These numbers are up from the start of the Murphy administration taking office. Murphy ran on cannabis legalization and continues to voice his support for full legalization.

Several NJ lawmakers continue to work behind the scenes on furthering medical cannabis expansion in the state.

The Commissioner is also working on expanding physician participation in the program. Last week, he conducted two lectures with 300 physicians at teaching hospitals to dispel myths and reduce stigma in the medical community. Although more than 100 new doctors have signed up since the expansion began, only 700 of the 28,000 licensed physicians in New Jersey are currently registered to participate in the Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana program.

Marijuana needs to be descheduled at the federal level. Enough is enough.

Patients on #MedicalMarijuana deserve better.

Until then, we are stuck with:
-Scant research funding
-Limited to no access in hospitals/nursing homes
-High costs for patientshttps://t.co/iJDmCHVjYF

— Shereef Elnahal, MD (@ShereefElnahal) July 13, 2018

Just last week, a New Jersey worker’s compensation judge ordered that Freehold Township must pay for its worker’s medical cannabis. This is a ground-breaking decision and one that will have great impacts on the future of assisting medical patients in the state.

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