New Jersey residents suffering from painful ailments that marijuana may alleviate may soon benefit from their home state allowing greater access to marijuana for medical purposes after long having one of the most restrictive policies towards it in the country. The New Jersey Department of Health has just recently unveiled its intention to open and license up to 108 new businesses specializing in medical marijuana. This would be in addition to the 12 medical marijuana providers already present in the state, only half of which are licensed and operational.
By: Anat Ghelber
For patients looking to take advantage of this however, they may have to deal with a long waiting period, as it may take months for any of the most recent medical marijuana industries to become fully operational. Nevertheless, it has been noted that current New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, has made it his intent to make medical marijuana more available for those in need. This is especially important considering the current medical marijuana program in New Jersey has both seen a scarcity of supply, and extensive numbers of patients waiting to take advantage.
Further difficulties to this effort had been noted with the New Jersey state government efforts to add marijuana businesses creating more and more “red tape” slowing the entire process down. This has led Governor Murphy to use his power and authority to move things along. According to Shereef Elnahal, the New Jersey state Health Commissioner, “We are at a point where patients just cannot wait any longer for easily accessible, affordable therapy. This request for applications allows for specialization of businesses to increase medical product in our state.” The Department of Health in New Jersey will begin allowing applications for licenses to dispense medical marijuana in that state as early as the first of July of this year, continuing to accept them throughout August 15th. They declined to say when they will make it public who has received a license.
The New Jersey Department of Health is expected to authorize up to possibly 38 new businesses to engage in the dispensation of medical marijuana in the northern part of New Jersey, along with as many as 38 in central New Jersey, and another 32 in lower New Jersey. With as many as 108 licenses being given out, the Health Department desires 24 of those licenses to be possessed by marijuana growers while 30 licenses will go to processors of marijuana plants. New retailers of medical marijuana with fresh licenses will number up to 54.
New Jersey Governor Murphy has been noted for his wish to see patients who would benefit from using medical marijuana be allowed greater access. He has talked about the, “rapidly growing patient need” for pain alleviating medical marijuana in his state. As he explained at a news conference at Hackensack, “Our goal is to ensure a medical marijuana program that is as robust as it is compassionate.”