New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Advancing as State Begins Registering Cannabis Patients

New Jersey is moving full speed ahead with medical marijuana despite a federal crackdown on the cannabis business across the country and increasing uncertainty about the industry’s future.

This week, the state began registering qualified patients and caregivers – an important development that shows New Jersey is finally serious about implementing its oft-delayed MMJ program in a timely fashion.

Patients must receive a recommendation for marijuana from one of the 150 doctors approved to participate in the program. Cards cost $200 and must be renewed every two years.

The first dispensary is already growing marijuana and plans to open next month, and a second is gearing up to follow suit later this year. Another four are in various stages of the process but probably won’t launch until next year if they clear all the necessary hurdles.

Ancillary businesses have now formed, providing services to dispensaries and growers and creating a vibrant – yet relatively small – MMJ market

With New Jersey’s program advancing, medical marijuana is gaining a solid foothold on the East Coast.

The first dispensary applications in Vermont rolled in this summer, and cannabis centers are slated to launch in Washington DC and Rhode Island soon. Connecticut recently joined the MMJ club, while Massachusetts voters will get the chance to approve the use and distribution of medical marijuana this fall.