Hope on Horizon for Embattled New Jersey Medical Cannabis Industry as More Dispensaries Approved

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has been a major disappointment from a business perspective so far.

Despite having legalized cannabis for medical use back in 2009, just one dispensary has opened its doors since and only 1,200 patients have received MMJ cards because of limited distribution and other large hurdles, making it one of the smallest medical marijuana markets in the nation. Entrepreneurs trying to open additional centers have run into a host of issues that have led to long delays and uncertainty.

To top it all off, the lone dispensary serving patients – Greenleaf Compassion Center – has struggled with higher-than-expected demand and inventory issues, creating a sizable backlog, waiting lists and frustration among patients. The center even had to close its doors for several weeks earlier this summer when its supply dwindled to extremely low levels, essentially bringing distribution to a complete halt.

These issues have put a damper on opportunities not only for dispensaries and growers, but also for ancillary companies catering to these operations (such as those that sell large-scale cultivation equipment) and businesses that provide services and products (such as smoking devices) to patients themselves.

Finally, however, there are some promising signs that the industry will grow in the coming months, creating at least a few additional business opportunities and eventually boosting annual cannabis sales by millions of dollars.

In the past two months, the state health department has issued two additional dispensary permits. Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. received approval in early June to begin growing medical cannabis and eventually open in its dispensary in Egg Harbor Township, which it hopes to do next month.

And this week, Compassionate Care Centers of America Foundation won state approval as well. It plans to start growing immediately and begin serving patients from its dispensary in the town of Woodbridge in November.

By the end of the year, the state should have at least three nonprofit dispensaries up and running, which will likely help boost patient totals – and therefore the market – as well. Three more dispensaries are allowed under the state’s law, and they could potentially open next year.

Given New Jersey’s strict requirements and limitations on medical marijuana operations and its very limited list of qualifying conditions, the state will not become a large MMJ market for the foreseeable future. But the fact that the program is finally advancing gives hope that the state will live up to its full MMJ business potential.

4 comments on “Hope on Horizon for Embattled New Jersey Medical Cannabis Industry as More Dispensaries Approved
  1. Marianne Bays on

    NJ’s law actually calls for a MINIMUM of 6 dispensaries; at least 2 each in northern, central and southern NJ. The current state administration has failed miserably in their charge to provide citizens with safe legal access to medical cannabis. About 80% of the patients already registered have paid their fees and received nothing in return.

    Reply
  2. Michael Augustine on

    I am a patient in southern Nevada where for 13 years now we have had a medical marijuana registration and it doesn’t work. It is completely dysfunctional. This year Nevada passed SB374 and with fingers crossed that will only take a year or so to visualize open and active Cannabis business. I am shooting from the hip here but i believe a conservative number would be for every 1 medical marijuana patient there are no less than 5 other non patient Cannabis users buying it from the gray market or drug cartels.As a state Nevada has chosen to say show me the money. Through taxation, commerce and tourism Nevada has a well planned approach to having a limited amount of patients to budget our program. Basically in 2 simple steps.

    1.Make MM dispensaries for profit and allow commerce for Dispensary,Cultivation,Edible/Elixir and ancillary business.
    2.Allow for reciprocity to other states MM patients.
    (pretty smart for the number one tourist destination in the world).
    New Jersey would be well suited to take a look at Nevada’s plan for the medical marijuana industry and model their program after us.

    On a personal note I believe this is the culmination of years of hard work by National/Local organizations and every individual who stands up for their individual right to choose. We have options now with Cannabis were not just joint smoking, Jerry Garcia loving hippies(me). We are all races,creeds,colors and stations in life. We are your moms,dads brothers, sisters, grandmas and grandpas and we can no longer be ignored. There are so many positive effects that Cannabis has to offer and on so many levels. Please Mr. and Mrs. Government END Prohibition and put and END to IRS 280E, Embrace the Green that America needs to stay strong.

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  3. chris behr on

    High…my name is chris..32 yr old male..husband and father of three…currently reside in los Angeles California.can I keep my medical weed card if I move to nj..and still get my meds..can I transfer without alot of drama from nj state

    Reply
  4. Marianne Bays on

    Unfortunately, NJ does not have reciprocity with other states built into its medicinal marijuana program. If you move to NJ, and you have a qualifying condition under our law you would need to find and establish a relationship with a doctor here(we have a physician’s registry), get his/her recommendation and with it, apply for your NJ card. You can get more details on this at the Dept of Health website for the program: http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/

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