News » Only Drug Dealers Can Afford to Sell Medical Marijuana in NJ

January 20, 2011 by



Want to open a legal medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey?  Well, good luck, because under new rules it’ll cost you $20,000 just to get the license.

The New Jersey Health Department has just released a new set of rules for the NJ MMJ program as well as a how-to guide for those who want to bid on the paltry six alternative treatment centers New Jersey plans to allow to operate.  To get in on the bidding, you’ll have to be willing to pony up $2,000 and if you win, you’ll need another $18,000 to secure the license.

This, folks, is government monopoly at its finest.  Not only does the State of New Jersey get to completely control the medical marijuana industry there, but they are doing so in such a way that virtually guarantees graft, corruption, insider dealing, and price fixing.  Does anyone really believe that with these huge fees, strict requirements, and this heavy-handed control over competition that the MMJ industry in New Jersey will be anything but a government-sponsored drug dealing system?

Think about it.  Let’s say your name is Al Capone and you are a drug dealer on the island.  You have wads of cash, plenty of marijuana, and are interested in going legit with at least the cannabis portion of your drug trade – a drug trade made profitable, of course, by government prohibition.  So you go into the Department of Health and Human Services with your $20,000 fee and “an offer they can’t refuse.”  You get the license for a dispensary.  Maybe two of them, who knows?

Now let’s say you’re a patient collective made up of two hundred chronic patients with qualifying conditions to get MMJ in Jersey.  Banding together, you’ll only have to come up with $100 each to make the fee for the license.  Then add on the costs of opening the business with all of the security, safety, and other requirements that the state has also imposed.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a lot of chronically ill people who have a lot of money laying around.  Do you think you could find two hundred chronically ill patients who could come up with $500 each with no hope of any return on that investment?  How about 200 who could come up with $100 each with only a lottery drawing’s chance of succeeding in getting a license (and who’ll only get $80 back if they fail)?

This doesn’t even consider the heavy restrictions for doctors and growers in New Jersey.  You think the street value of illegal marijuana is high?  Wait until it becomes available legally in Jersey.  That state’s government seems hell bent on making sure no one can afford MMJ.

I wonder what the public would say if they tried this with Prozac or Viagra?

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[source New Jersey Newsroom]

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21 Responses

  1. I don’t agree with article. It’s like saying only a drug dealer can afford to open a McDonalds because the franchise fee is $20,000.

    $20,000 is not a lot to recoup while running a medical dispensary, especially if the product is purchased direct from growers.

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  2. $20,000 isn’t very much for a license like that, especially when you’ll only have 5 competitors.

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  3. possible corruption in… in *New Jersey*?! I don’t… I don’t even… the imminent end of America is even more evident with this shocking revelation.

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  4. Actually, the law itself allows for and unlimited number private, for-profit dispensaries, but does mandate their right to exist. Also, I don’t see why people wouldn’t pay those prices. Dispensaries can be quite profitable.

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    • 100% agreed but they have set limits on strains and potency (i think)
      now if ur a patient and u have a mmj lic whats is gonna stop you from getting the streets? when a dealer is pushing better bud for most likely less! so we have very ill people going into newark.
      btw newark and camden have cut their police by 1/2! and their fire dept by a third… oh camden happens to be the murder capital of the states. dont believe me go and drive threw 2 blocks of it, dont bother paying the toll because ur never gonna get that ticket.

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  5. Living in New Jersey this just makes me sad. But without any sort of referendum or voter initiative system we have to rely upon our politicians to create laws and this is what happens.

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  6. the logic behind this article is beyond me

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  7. This sounds like a job for Philosoraptor.

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  8. Tirau via Reddit on

    It’s getting like this in Long Beach, CA, for example- a permit for dispensaries to continue operating ranges from $14,700 to $25,000. Disgusting.

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  9. sounds like they want to make it friendlier to a monopolistic system. By making it so hard to enter the market they limit who can.

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  10. The prevalence of abuse.

    Although I’m in Australia where Marijuana is a bit a ‘meh’ drug, their is undoubtedly a cultural issue surround marijuana.

    The drug itself is pretty benign besides generally sucking motivation from people. I don’t care much either way for it. It smells like mouldy grass clippings but hell, I smoke cigarettes and when I attempt to quit, they smell like shit too.

    I like in a house with 3 full time stoners who buy by the bag, and smoke breakfast to bed, so I’m not totally naive on the subject. My main gripe comes from the culture that surrounds marijuana rather than the drug itself. It’s just boring. Watching people “mellow” is disappointing without the shared experience.

    But even deeper, I think they should keep marijuana illegal, not to limit the drug, but to group those who are instinctively drawn to prohibited drugs (and basically anything illicit) on something which is mostly benign – least they shift their focus on heavier drugs which are anything but benign.

    People will always seek illicit goods for little more than feel good rewards to suit their psyche. Best to keep something for them to focus on that isn’t harmful as such.

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    • What about illegal weed makes it more appealing that legal weed? These guys aren’t giggling 14 year olds smoking their first J because they think it will make them cool- they just enjoy weed. If they wanted harder shit, they could do it any time! It’s also prohibited! They would just go get it from the same guy who sells the weed, or his hookup, or whatever. If weed was legal, and they could go out and purchase a 6-pack of beer and a bag of weed from a store, how would this suddenly make them want to try meth or something similar? That’s a bit of faulty logic if you ask me.

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  11. christie- we made mmj legal for you and now look at all this crime! burned down houses every single fucking day. people getting shot in the face 3 times in brought daylight! mmj is the absolute worst situation for nj so were repealing the law and sending back into review.
    ps- all fees are non refundable and will take a backseat while we work this out….. fuck you nj fuck u!

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  12. Vicki Halverson HappyPlants via Facebook on

    More bullshit, same state. Geesh, you would think they would get a clue. Ignorance is no excuse!
    Knowledge is power ~ educate yourself!

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  13. NJ has always been terrible about marijuana in general. Oh well. This is what happens when people will absolutely no grasp on reality make the laws.

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  14. there contantly messing with us in Colorado too

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  15. How are these fees “reasonable?” $20,000.00 is “reasonable?” The license fee for a pharmacy in NJ is only $175.00. THAT is a “reasonable” fee.

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