The six winners of vertically integrated Alternative Treatment Center licenses awarded Monday by the New Jersey Department of Health all have operations in other states and appear to be highly capitalized.
The six beat out 140 other applications for the coveted licenses and will double the number of medical marijuana operations in the state to 12.
The announcement was made by Health Commissioner Dr. Shareef Elnahal.
The six are:
1. NETA NJ, LLC – Phillipsburg. NETA operates medical and adult-use facilities in Massachusetts.
2. GTI New Jersey, LLC – Paterson. Green Thumb Industries operates in eight states.
1. Verano NJ LLC – Elizabeth (Dispensary), Rahway (Cultivation Site). Verano Holdings has operations in four states and recently announced $120 million financing to fund new expansion initiatives including additional facilities in numerous states.
2. Justice Grown – Ewing. Pennsylvania-based medical operator.
1. MPX New Jersey – Atlantic City (Dispensary), Galloway (Cultivation). This gives the newly merged MPX-iAnthus its 11th state of operation. Chief Strategy Officer Beth Stavola is a Red Bank resident.
2. Columbia Care New Jersey – Vineland. This will be the 11th state in which Columbia Care will have a license, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
“Six very strong applicants were selected, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” Elnahal said. “We will meet with them early next year to refine their timetable for growing product and opening their doors. We are committed to an equitable expansion of supply to meet growing patient demand, and these new locations will reach patients that currently have to travel longer distances to obtain the therapy.”
The 146 applications were reviewed by a six-person committee consisting of four DOH representatives and one each from the Departments of Agriculture and Treasury. Their expertise included medical marijuana, ATC regulation, lab testing, plant science, diversity and procurement. Prior to scoring the applications, committee members received implicit bias training from the state’s Chief Diversity Officer to ensure an impartial selection process.
The committee scored the applications and then DOH chose the top scorers in each region.
The scores for the top contenders were published in letters sent to the winning applicants. Based on scoring alone, NETA could have been awarded a license in each of the three zones and MPX in two. Because the department would award only one license to a company, the ones awarded in each region were not the top two scorers in two of the three regions. (See below for PDF of letter to GTI.)
“GTI is honored and humbled to be among the applicants chosen to serve the people of New Jersey who are seeking relief with medical cannabis,” said Devra Karlebach, CEO of GTI New Jersey. “We look forward to becoming members of the New Jersey communities where we will operate and to providing the highest quality products and patient care.”
The six companies awarded licenses are now allowed to proceed with the permitting process.
The announcement ended a nearly four-month wait for the 146 applicants.
The six new licenses allow the entities to open medical marijuana grow, processing and dispensing operations.