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Posted on: June 7, 2019

Cannabis Update

On Monday, the General Assembly is expected to concur with Senate amendments to A10/S10, which expands access to medical marijuana. 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 to 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%.

In addition, the Senate has scheduled a vote on S-3205 dealing with the expungement process. The Assembly is also holding a voting session on Monday but at publication time has not scheduled the Assembly companion for a vote.

Quoting the statement of the Senate Health Committee, “…this bill concerns several reforms to expungement eligibility and procedures, some focused on the treatment of various marijuana or hashish possession, distribution, or drug paraphernalia crimes and offenses and others being more generally applicable to any expungement.” It is unclear what funding, if any, is contemplated to offset the costs of expungement. It is expected, however, that the bill may be further amended or additional legislation may advance to address some of the outstanding issues with the legislation.

Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, mcerra@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, ext. 120.

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