The new license holders include, in North Jersey, NETA NJ LLC in Phillipsburg and GTI New Jersey in Paterson; in Central Jersey, Verano NJ LLC, with a planned dispensary site in Elizabeth and cultivation in Rahway, and Justice Grown in Ewing; and in South Jersey, MPX New Jersey, with a dispensary planned in Atlantic City and cultivation in Galloway, and Columbia Care New Jersey in Vineland.
As required by the original Request for Applications in July, each organization is vertically integrated, meaning one organization controls the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical cannabis.
“Six very strong applicants were selected, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement. “We will meet with them early next year to refine their timetable for growing product and opening their doors. We are committed to an equitable expansion of supply to meet growing patient demand, and these new locations will reach patients that currently have to travel longer distances to obtain the therapy.”
The DOH told NJBIZ last month the necessity for more time to evaluate the 146 applications only became apparent after the application period closed on Aug. 31. Applications of lengths ranging from 300 pages to upward of 600 pages amounted to a total of 43,000 pages that the DOH needed to review.
For the remaining 100 applying organizations that were not granted a license, they’re back to the waiting game until additional license opportunities are announced.
“Because the administration was pushing through medical, there will be an ancillary benefit for those not successful on the ATC side. Once New Jersey has a live process and says ‘here’s how it will work,’ those applicants will be able to press send on the applications as quickly as the state will allow,” said Lee Vartan, head of the cannabis law practice at law firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, who worked with five different ATC applicants. “If we have clients not successful on the medical side, we’ll take the work we’ve done, 400 or 500 pages of work, change it and submit it as soon as the state says we can.”
With licenses finally announced, it will likely take months of building out facilities and growing product before the growing number of patients — currently over 38,000 — can be served by the new providers.