The state of New jersey cannabis manufacturing license authorized medicinal cannabis in 2010 through Senate Bill 119, which established a legal framework for eligible patients in the state to acquire and use medical cannabis as a form of therapy for their condition. Medicinal cannabis is available through state-licensed enterprises, known as Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs), which are permitted to cultivate, manufacture, and distribute medical cannabis. There were a total of 12 ATCs in the state by 2018.
Gov. Phil Murphy quickly made adjustments to New Jersey's medicinal marijuana program after taking office. The program was improved by adding five qualifying medical conditions (including chronic pain), allowing for a non-vertical business model, lowering patient costs, and enabling current company licensees to build satellite dispensary facilities to expand patient access.
Throughout 2019, Gov. Murphy campaigned with state lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana, but was ultimately unsuccessful, prompting him to extend the medicinal marijuana program to boost medical marijuana business possibilities, product supply, and patient access. This was achieved by changing the laws to create distinct specialized permits for growers, processors, and dispensaries, as well as streamlining the process of adding qualifying medical conditions to the program.
In addition, Gov. Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act in 2019, which includes further program enhancements. Reforms for 2019:
- The monthly limit has been raised from 2 ounces to 3 ounces.
- Adults are now able to purchase medicinal marijuana edibles.
- The medicinal marijuana sales tax has been phased away.
- The need that patients have a genuine relationship with their doctor has been removed.
- The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) was established as a new regulatory agency to regulate the medicinal marijuana program.
- Medical marijuana distribution to registered patients is now legal.
- Allows dispensaries to set up "consumption zones" on their property.
What to expect from the program is as follows:
- The Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC) and the state Legislature will still need to create rules and regulations.
- The existing 12 medicinal marijuana operators would be eligible for an adult-use license.
- For the first 24 months, no more than 37 Cultivation Licenses will be issued, and the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will decide the maximum number of licenses for each other license class based on market demand by June 2021.
- Thirty percent of licenses must be granted to firms owned by women, minorities, or handicapped veterans.
- Priority would be given to towns in "impact zones," or those that have been severely impacted by unemployment, poverty, or previous marijuana enforcement activities.