New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is proposing adding nearly 100 medical cannabis dispensaries in the state as part of his industry expansion plan after the legislature failed to pass adult-use legislation, according to an Asbury Park Press report. The plan would see a total of 108 dispensaries in the Garden State, up from just the six that are currently active and another six that are licensed but have yet to open.
The expansion is part of a broader bill — the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act — which would make broad changes to the state’s medical cannabis program, including reducing the number of times per year patients need to see their recommending physician; increasing the amount of cannabis that patients are allowed to purchase per visit; phasing out the state sales tax on cannabis by January 1; allowing home delivery; and setting a goal of awarding 15 percent of licenses to minority business owners and 15 percent for veterans, women, and disabled people.
The measure passed both legislative chambers last month but the legislature needs to reconcile some of the amendments before it moves to the governor.
Murphy’s administration is seeking applications for up to 24 cultivators, 30 manufacturers and 54 dispensaries with 38 in northern New Jersey, 38 in the state’s central region, and 32 in the southern part of the state, according to the report.
“It will mean an enormous difference for patients. We have a demand-supply imbalance.” — Gov. Murphy to the Asbury Park Press
The administration has previously expanded the state’s medical cannabis qualifying conditions list and the legislature is considering a bill to expunge low-level cannabis convictions. Senate President Stephen Sweeny, the governor’s Democratic colleague, indicated that the state could put the recreational legalization issue to voters in 2020 after the reforms stalled out in the legislature.
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