2019 NJ Medical Marijuana Legislation Quick Guide

It’s been a rocky and confusing year for cannabis in New Jersey. Recently, Governor Phil Murphy used his executive power to push forward an RFA for medical marijuana dispensary, cultivation, and manufacturing licenses via the Department of Health. On the other hand, the NJ legislature is on the cusp of passing bill S10 that will massively expand the current medical marijuana program. Read below to learn about both scenarios and what we think will happen next.

 

Update July 1: The adjusted RFA was released, and the application period opens July 15.

Update June 20: The medical marijuana expansion bill was passed through the Assembly and Senate. However, the RFA is being adjusted. Instead of 108 licenses, the State will seek 24 licenses (5 cultivation, 15 retail, and 4 vertically integrated).

Update June 11: The expungement bill was passed yesterday.

Update June 10: More amendments were added to the Honig Act, so it’s on temporary hold while those amendments are reviewed. The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to vote on a bill that would reform the state's process for expunging offenses from a criminal record.


 

NJ Department of Health RFA

This RFA is requesting applications for 3 different regions in NJ:

North

  • Cultivation: 2

  • Retail Dispensary: 5

  • Vertically Integrated: 1

Central

  • Cultivation: 2

  • Retail Dispensary: 5

  • Vertically Integrated: 1

South

  • Cultivation: 1

  • Retail Dispensary: 5

  • Vertically Integrated: 1

*Plus one extra vertically integrated dispensary to be placed in any region.

The application period is set to open on July 15 with a deadline of August 21 at 3PM EST for dispensary applications and August 22 at 3PM EST for cultivation & vertically integrated applications. This RFA is still under the Department of Health, but all future ones will be under the to-be-created Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

NJ Jake Honig Act

This bill, which is going to pass soon (barring anything completely out of the ordinary) significantly approves upon the current NJ medical marijuana program.

  • Expands qualifying conditions and makes it easier for patients to actually get an MMJ card.

  • Removes the registry requirement for MMJ doctors and medical practices, making the process of finding a medical marijuana physician less of a treasure hunt.

  • Transitions oversight from the Department of Health to a new Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

  • Increases the amount of medical marijuana patients are allowed to purchase each month, from 2 ounces to 3 ounces.

  • Less frequent re-certification: Patients would only have to get re-certified for the program on an annual basis instead of quarterly.

  • Micro-licenses: Sets aside and dictates requirements for cannabis dispensary “micro-licenses” to expand accessibility.

  • Edibles all around (not just minors)

  • Out-of-state medical patients can partake in NJ

  • No more tax: Phases out the medical marijuana tax over three years.

  • Parent Protection: Patients won’t lose visitation or custody of their children because they are registered in the program.

What’s Next?

It’s very likely that the passing of Honig Act (bill S10) will delay the application phase mainly due to the fact that Murphy’s RFA is under the Department of Health while the new bill creates a new Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Either way, big changes are coming soon and we anticipate everything being finalized by the end of the summer.