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State receives 146 applications for new medical marijuana dispensaries

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that the New Jersey Department of Health has received 146 applications from 106 organizations to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

Applicants had to identify the region of the state where they would like to operate an alternative treatment center (ATC). There were 50 applicants for the northern region, 45 in the central region and 51 in the southern region, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

On July 16, the department released a Request for Applications (RFA) for up to six new applicants to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. The department has established an independent and unbiased process and publicly disclosed the selection criteria in its publication of the RFA. The application period ended on Aug. 31, according to the press release.

Complete applications will be evaluated and scored by a selection committee. Applicants chosen to proceed in the permitting process will be notified once the review is complete.

“Program participation has surpassed 30,000 individuals as a result of reforms already made and we expect that number to keep growing,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “We need more alternative treatment centers to keep pace with the demand for a therapy that has been unjustly restricted for so long.”

Applicants would be required to operate a dispensary as well as cultivating and manufacturing facilities. The business can be nonprofit or for profit, according to the press release.

About 800 interested applicants and representatives attended a mandatory pre-application conference hosted by the Department of Health on Aug. 9 in Trenton.

The six currently operating ATCs were not eligible to participate in this application process because 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, according to the press release.

The applications will not be publicly available until all awards have been made. For more information about New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, visit https://www.nj.gov/health/ medicalmarijuana/index.shtml

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