146 apply for N.J. medical marijuana dispensary, but state can only approve 6

Ian Bush
September 05, 2018 - 11:30 am
Marijuana samples on display at MedMen in West Hollywood, California, Jan. 2, 2018. On Jan. 1, it became legal in California to sell recreational marijuana, but many shops began sales on Jan. 2.

© Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — There's plenty of interest in South Jersey among would-be medical marijuana dispensaries. 

Fifty-one organizations applied to operate medical cannabis shops in the southern part of the state alone — more than either North or Central Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Health received 146 applications at $20,000 a pop from 106 organizations. Only up to six dispensaries will be approved, with two in each region.

Roughly 30,000 people have already taken advantage of medical marijuana in the state's six current alternative treatment centers. Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said New Jersey needs more of those "to keep pace with the demand for a therapy that has been unjustly restricted for so long."

"By expanding Alternative Treatment Center locations in New Jersey, we are putting patients first and ensuring more convenient access to medical marijuana," added Gov. Phil Murphy in a press release. "This is another step forward in removing barriers put in place by the previous administration and creating a more consumer-friendly program."

The picks are expected to be announced on Nov. 1.