April 3, 2021

New Jersey patients overcame limited resources and political adversity in their battle to obtain medical marijuana. Now it welcomes recreational marijuana as well.

We still do not know the process for opening  a recreational dispensary. Many experts believe initial licenses will go to medical dispensary owners. There are also plans to license cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, and delivery businesses. Until we know more, this article covers the basics for starting an Alternative Treatment Center in New Jersey.

When was cannabis made legal

New Jersey legalized medical marijuana use for registered patients in 2010, provided they qualify for one of the listed medical conditions.

Alternative Treatment Centers (aka dispensaries) can distribute and supply patients with medical marijuana. The New Jersey medical cannabis program is regulated by the Department of Health.

New Jersey has a reputable medical dispensary structure, with twelve ATCs currently in operation. In 2020, voters passed a measure legalizing recreational marijuana. The guidelines around recreational dispensaries are still in development.

How many dispensaries are there currently in the state

Applications for medical marijuana businesses opened in January of 2011.  The Department of Health managed the process and identified six ATC applicants.  Those legal entities were:

  • Greenleaf Compassion Center
  • Foundation Harmony
  • Breakwater ATC
  • Garden State Dispensary
  • Compassionate Science ATC, Inc.
  • Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc.

It is still unclear how many recreational dispensaries will open in New Jersey. However, many expect the number to be large due to demand. New Jersey also plans to license microbusinesses (those with 10 employees or less). In 2021, New Jersey will be the only state in the greater NYC area with legal adult-use marijuana.

How much money is there in the dispensary market

How much money is there in the dispensary market
How much money is there in the dispensary market – Image powered by Medicalmarijuana.com

Medical sales for 2016 amounted to $31,000,000 while estimated sales for 2021 are expected to reach $52,500,000.

License requirements

The medical dispensary application period is currently closed. However, that doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. The state is currently making plans for its recreational marijuana program. Once they release requirements for licensing, you should prepare your business plans.

Under the guidelines enacted as of January 18th, 2010, New Jersey started accepting applications for legal medical cannabis businesses. However, the procedure for prospective business owners closed in March of 2011.

The current regulations allow for:

  • Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (aka Alternative Treatment Centers)
  • Medical Marijuana Growers
  • Medical Marijuana Processors

Financial requirements

Below are the fees associated with the application and licensing of a medical marijuana business in New Jersey, as of March 2011:

Application Fee:

  • Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) Application Fee: $2,000
  • Patient Registration Fees: $200 (valid for 2 years)
  • Caregiver Registration Fees: $200 (valid for 2 years)
Financial requirements
Financial requirements – Image powered by Thefinanceteam.co.za

Licensing Fees:

  • Alternative Treatment Center (“ATC”) license fee: $18,000 (check must be submitted with the application, but will be destroyed if the application is denied).
  • ATC annual permit renewal application fee: $20,000.
  • ATC Change of location fee: $10,000.
  • ATC modification of premises fee: $2,000.
  • Transfer of ownership fee: $20,000.

Links to consulting companies that can help open a marijuana dispensary in New Jersey

Want to open a marijuana dispensary in New Jersey? The consulting companies listed below can help explain state licensing requirements, and assist with applications so that you can start your New Jersey marijuana business.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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  1. By Jennifer Bryan ,27 Nov 2018
    Would like information on how to open up a dispensary
  2. By Jennifer Bryan ,27 Nov 2018
    Would like information on how to open up a dispensary and what I need to do
  3. By Henry Rac ,19 Jan 2020
    Need information on starting a dispensary.
    1. By Asaad ,08 Nov 2020
      Have you found any information on starting a dispensary? If so, please pass it on to me.
  4. By Asaad ,08 Nov 2020
    What’s the process now for opening up a dispensary in NJ? The legalization for recreational use goes into effect in January, so how should one go about starting in this business now?
  5. By Richard ,06 Dec 2020
    Need info on where can I put a dispensary in North Jersey, please and thank you..
  6. By Andra ,24 Feb 2021
    need info on starting up a dispensary and do you grow your own marijuana or buy from a grower. which is more economical.

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