Nearly 100 more medical marijuana dispensaries could be coming to N.J.

New Jersey could see nearly 100 medical marijuana dispensaries under a revised plan to bolster the state’s medical marijuana program, which state officials recently advanced.
Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy called for several key changes to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, including adding more places patients could buy weed and getting rid of a requirement that prevented some doctors for participating.
Murphy’s call has largely been answered by a bill that was passed last week by an Assembly committee, meaning it now awaits a full vote in that chamber. The bill pulls ideas from several plans that have previously been proposed and has been sponsored by eight members of the Assembly.
“So far this is clearly the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill we’ve seen,” said Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.
The plan only affects the medical marijuana program in New Jersey and is separate from the ongoing debate about recreational marijuana in the state.
Below are the biggest changes suggested in the new plan.

Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media

Nearly 100 dispensaries
Only five dispensaries are currently open in New Jersey, with a sixth set to open its doors soon. This plan allows up to 92 additional dispensaries for a maximum total of 98. The bill also allows up to 15 marijuana growers across the state, up from six that are currently licensed.
The six dispensaries already licensed would be permitted to each open two satellite dispensaries for a total of 18 locations. That would leave up to 80 licenses for new dispensaries.
But those maximum numbers may not be reached. It all depends on demand for medical marijuana in the state.
Within six months of the bill passing, the state would have to start accepting applications for 40 additional dispensaries and six additional marijuana growers. If after two years the market still can’t meet demand, the state would be allowed to issue up to 40 additional dispensary licenses and three additional cultivation licenses.

Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media

No need for doctors to register
Another point from Murphy’s wishlist, doctors would no longer have to register with the state to be able to recommend marijuana to patients if the bill is passed.
There are currently 536 doctors on the state’s list of doctors that can recommend marijuana. New Jersey has more than 28,000 doctors, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
If this change were to take effect, people could talk to their personal doctor about using medical marijuana.

Gov. Phil Murphy orders review of medical marijuana

All patients can buy edibles
Medical marijuana patients in Colorado and California have long had access to a variety of products. Cannabis flower, oil and edibles, to name a few. In New Jersey, only one dispensary sells more than flower and only minors have been permitted to use edibles.
Under this plan, the cannabis producers would be able to make more products, including edibles and oils, drastically increasing selection at dispensaries.

Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media
Growers wouldn’t be restrained
On a recent visit, Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge had a couple dozen marijuana strains available for patients to buy. In the future they could have even more.
State regulations have limited the number of strains the medical marijuana providers are willing to grow. This bill clearly says that cultivators would be allowed to grow an unlimited number of strains.

Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media

Patients could buy twice as much pot
The maximum amount medical marijuana patients can purchase in New Jersey is two ounces per month. That would be upped to four ounces per month, under the new plan.
Wolski said that patients with certain conditions that require a constant dosage of cannabis, like epilepsy, need more than two ounces per month. Other patients, he said, make their own edibles in bulk and require more than two ounces.

Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media

Patients could use any dispensary in the state
Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey have long been restricted on which dispensaries they could use. If they found themselves near a dispensary that they weren’t registered to use, they couldn’t buy cannabis there.
This bill would change that, allowing registered patients to buy from any dispensary in the state.

What’s next?
Now that the bill has cleared its Assembly committee, it’s ready for a full vote from the chamber, according to the Office of Legislative Services. On Tuesday, that vote had not been scheduled.
Messages left with the governor’s office about the bill weren’t returned, so it’s unclear if Murphy will throw his weight behind the plan, despite its overlap with his announcement last month.


Nearly 100 more medical marijuana dispensaries could be coming to N.J.
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04 11, 2018