New Jersey medical marijuana applicants seek to break legal impasse

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A group of unsuccessful medical marijuana license applicants is trying to compel New Jersey officials to settle a case that continues to stall program expansion in advance of an adult-use market in the state.

The seven applicants, who are doing battle in state courts over alleged licensing application system issues, recently sent a letter to the state attorney general urging the suit to be settled, according to Law360.

Their suggestion: The state agree to reevaluate their applications and grant licenses based on merit. It was unclear whether the state would go for that.

“With the prospect of millions of eligible customers being added as a result of adult use, the current lack of licenses and resulting monopoly means that prices for cannabis will skyrocket, the black market will remain robust, patients will not be able to receive critical medicine and the state will miss valuable tax revenue,” the letter noted, according to Law360.

Industry experts have expressed concern that New Jersey will find it difficult to transition quickly to adult use because of its limited MMJ program.

State regulators requested applications in 2019 for 24 new licenses for vertically integrated and stand-alone businesses, including cultivators and retailers.

But a court halted the review of those applications after a lawsuit alleged that the system had technical glitches.

Regulators said they investigated the issue and determined there was no problem with the system.

The plaintiffs countered that the investigation had flaws and was “self-serving.”

To date, New Jersey has issued only 12 vertically integrated medical marijuana licenses, and only nine are operational, according to the state’s website.