How to Open a Dispensary in New Jersey

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Medical cannabis is legal in the state of New Jersey as of 2010, The state’s current medical cannabis program is extremely restrictive, mostly due to opposition from former governor Chris Christie. The incoming governor holds no such qualms. The following should be everything you need to know about opening up a dispensary in New Jersey

Legalization in New Jersey

New Jersey legalized medical cannabis for qualified patients in 2010. Alternative Treatment Centers (aka dispensaries) are authorized to distribute and supply patients with medical cannabis. The state’s medical cannabis program is regulated by the New Jersey Department of Health.

When was cannabis made legal

Legalization in New Jersey – Image Source

New Jersey currently has six medical cannabis dispensaries operating in the state. Incoming governor Phil Murphy has said that if a bill to legalize adult use, aka recreational cannabis came across his desk, then he would sign it. PTSD was recently added to the list of qualifying medical conditions in 2016.

How Many Dispensaries Operate in the State?

The Department of Health began accepting applications for Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) in January 2010.

Later that year in March, the heath department announced that six ATC applicants were selected to move forward in the process. They included the following:

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

The application process will remain closed until all initial six ATCs are in operation. Once this is done, the state will re-evaluate the program and determine whether or not there is a need for expansion. In 2017, Foundation Harmony finally received approval to operate. This will also change should the state legalize recreational cannabis as has been promised.

What is the Cannabis Industry Worth in New Jersey?

How much money is there in the dispensary market

What is the cannabis industry in New Jersey worth? – Image Source

Medical cannabis sales in 2016 amounted to 31million while estimated sales for 2021 are expected to reach 52.5 million.

Licensing Requirements

New Jersey is not currently accepting new applications for dispensary licenses. You can certainly use this time to acquaint yourself with local laws and regulations in the state and formulating your business plan. The application window was open from 2010 to 2011. Obviously this will be subject to change if recreational cannabis

The regulations allow for the following provisions:

  • Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (aka Alternative Treatment Centers)
  • MedicalCannabis Growers
  • MedicalCannabis Processors

Financial Requirements

You can expect to encounter the following expenses when opening up a dispensary or other cannabis business in the state of New Jersey. Remember that all fees will be subjected to change if/when recreational cannabis is legalized in the state.

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

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.

 Consulting Companies

The following companies will help you with everything you need to open up a cannabis dispensary in the state of New Jersey.



  1. Anthony Gartman on

    Hey I’m looking to open up a medical dispensary, I’m looking for the application I need to complete, where can I find it ?

  2. I have been a medical marijuana patient for 4 years in the state of New Jersey. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the 90’s and was placed on med’s 3 pills 3x a day, that’s nine pills a day plus prednisone , since I have been on medical marijuana I have not been on any medication and my relief has been so much better. I would like to open a not for profit medical ATC. Any help with this from the state would be greatly appreciated.mark solaro.

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