The Murphy administration announced it is seeking up to six new applicants to operate medicinal marijuana dispensaries — two each in the northern, central and southern regions of New Jersey.
“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 Gov. 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.”
Currently, more than 25,000 patients, 1,000 caregivers and 700 physicians are participating in the program.
“As we strive to make the program more responsive to the needs of patients, caregivers and Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs), we recognize the need to grow the industry and create more options for patients,” said Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D.
A Request for Applications (RFA), which was noticed in the New Jersey Register and published on the Department’s website, notes that applicants would have to operate a dispensary and facilities that do cultivating and manufacturing and provide evidence of site control and verification of the approval of the governing body in the municipality where they intend to locate. The business can be either nonprofit or for profit and is also required to submit a business plan including a budget detailing revenues and expenses over a five-year period. The RFA is available at: http://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/ATC_RFA_July2018.pdf.
Applicants can submit applications for more than one region of the state but 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.
A mandatory pre-application conference is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 9 at the Department of Health headquarters in Trenton. The purpose of the conference is to give potential applicants a chance to have questions answered about the process. The department will electronically accept questions until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7 from all potential applicants via email at email@example.com. Applications are due Friday, Aug. 31. Applicants chosen to proceed in the permitting process will be announced Nov. 1.
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.
The commissioner is also working to expand physician participation in the program. Last week, he conducted two grand rounds 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.
Applicants are prohibited from directly contacting the Department or Division of Medicinal Marijuana concerning this RFA.
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