New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed the medical cannabis expansion bill which will increase the number of industry licenses in the state, allow for home delivery, and lowers the threshold for patients to qualify for the program, according to an NBC4 report. The Democratic governor had backed the expansion plan after lawmakers were unable to legalize cannabis for adult use during the session.
The reforms will allow patients to buy 3 ounces of cannabis per visit 18 months after the bill takes effect and a commission will establish the limits once it is convened. The measure also allows physician assistants and nurse practitioners to recommend patients for the program and makes qualifying for the program easier by lowering the threshold from debilitating illnesses to “qualifying” conditions.
The measure creates a five-member commission to regulate the program, moving it from the purview of the Health Department. It also phases out the 6.625 percent sales tax over three years.
The bill also creates a new licensing system, creating three new categories for cultivation, processing and dispensing; the current system only has one license that covers all three levels of production and distribution. Under the measure, 15 percent of those new licenses would be made available to minority business owners, and 15 percent for women, veterans, and disabled people. The administration is seeking applications for 24 growers, 30 manufacturers, and 54 dispensaries with 38 in northern New Jersey, 38 in the central region, and 32 in the southern part of the state.
The plan is expected to add nearly 100 dispensaries; currently, there are just six.