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Posted on: June 3, 2019

Senate Acts on Medical Marijuana

Yesterday, the State Senate amended and then passed S-10, which expands access to medical marijuana by a vote of 33-4. This legislation establishes the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to oversee the regulation of medical cannabis in the state, including the expansion of access to medical marijuana for patients with a diagnosed medical condition and the regulation of the four types of permits authorized by the Act. Under the act, patients could obtain up to 3 ounces of medicine per month, for 18 -months, an increase from the current 2- ounce maximum. After that, the CRC will set the maximum amount that may be prescribed.

A-10/S-10 includes the following provisions:

1. Caps the number of cultivation permits to 23, with an 18- month exception to the limit for microbusiness;
2. Allows 7 alternative treatment centers to concurrently hold cultivator; manufacturer and dispensary permits. (All other entities can hold only one class of permits, and only one permit for that class.);
3.Allows the CRC to approve any medical cannabis dispensary permit holder to operate a medical cannabis consumption area, provided there is an endorsement from the municipality and permits municipality by ordinance to authorize the operations of local endorsed medical cannabis consumption areas;
4. CRC must consider proposed location including zoning approvals, provided there is a letter or affidavit from appropriate municipal officials and there is proof of local support, such as a resolution of the governing body; and
5. Authorizes a municipality with a medical cannabis dispensary may adopt an ordinance imposing a transfer tax on any medical cannabis dispensed by the dispensary. The rate is at the discretion of the municipality and cannot exceed 2%.

The Senate amended the bill to deal with the requirement of labor agreements at existing marijuana dispensaries, so it must be returned to the Assembly for concurrent before going to the Governor for his consideration. It is anticipated the Assembly will act on it on June 10.

Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x120.

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