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For investors or companies interested in medical marijuana in New Jersey, timing is critical. Investors and companies should be assembling a team in order to timely complete the application process once the expansion of licenses occurs. On March 27, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy expanded the state's Medical Marijuana Program by announcing the Department of Health's report with recommendations in response to Executive Order 6, which the Governor issued in order for the Department to conduct a comprehensive review of the New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program.

The Department of Health's recommendations include certain measures that take immediate effect while others will require further regulatory or statutory enactment. The following is a partial list of the Department of Health's recommendations:

• Expansion of authorized debilitating medical conditions to include Chronic Pain related to Musculoskeletal Disorders, Migraine Anxiety, Chronic Pain of Visceral Origin, and Tourette's Syndrome.
• Permit current ATCs to dispense at satellite locations and permit more than one cultivation site per ATC.
• Streamline process for addition of debilitating conditions by allowing the Commissioner of Health to add debilitating conditions in extraordinary circumstances without a lengthy review process by the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel;
• Eliminate 10% THC limit to allow for more effective treatment of the debilitating medical conditions.
• Create separate endorsements for ATC permits to allow ATCs to engage in one or more of the following activities related to the provision of usable marijuana to qualifying patients:
1) cultivation and harvesting usable marijuana;
2) manufacturing and processing usable marijuana (including the manufacturing of edible products); and
3) dispensing of usable marijuana.
• Reduce registration fees to reduce card fee to senior citizens and military veterans, and continue the reduced card fee for those receiving public assistance. Additionally, the Department will reduce the registration fee for all other qualifying patients and caregivers to $100 for the issuance or renewal of a registry identification card, which is valid for a two-year period.
• Allow two caregivers per patient to allow designation of a second primary caregiver who will be subject to the same requirements as the primary caregiver.
• Eliminate the physician registry to permit any New Jersey physician in good standing and in possession of an active controlled dangerous substances registration issued by the State Division of Consumer Affairs to authorize medicinal marijuana for their qualifying patients.

The Governor's recommendation to expand the Medical Marijuana Program follows the new federal spending bill signed into law on March 23, 2018, that continued the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which bars the Justice Department from utilizing federal funds to prosecute states from implementing their own laws authorizing the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana - this extension is effective through September 2018.

The complete report issued by the Department of Health available at:
http://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf

To learn more about the medical marijuana business in New Jersey, please contact Joseph M. DeCotiis and Arlene Quinones Perez, members of the firm's Cannabis Law Practice Group.

The attorneys in this practice area will advise potential and existing clients that the possession, sale, manufacture, use of distribution or marijuana is illegal under federal law, and that the legalization of marijuana under any state or local law does not override federal law. Any legal work or advice the firm may provide related to contracts, financing, leasing, the formation of business entities, dispute resolution or any other legal work that business may require is not intended to advise a client to engage in a business or activity that violates any federal or state law.

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