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“So to truly legalize cannabis home growers should be an option, “Gopal said. “It’s no different than other states like California who have adopted this… . The reality is, as a country and as a state, we’ve spent billions of dollars on the failed war on drugs. And this is just one piece of making sure that it’s truly legalized.”

There is a question of safety.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, St. Sen. Vin Gopal sponsored a bill to allow anyone 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.

“It’s going to take at least six months to make our initial rules and regulations, and then only at that point, will they start soliciting adult use licenses. And then it will take another 90 days for those licenses to get considered. And only then can they start the process of opening up,” McQueeny said.

And converting to a full legal weed dispensary comes with a $1 million fee for a licensee with three or more retail locations.

CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said the goal was to ease supply and demand issues faced by the state’s 117,000 registered medical marijuana patients. Initially, the state was only set to issue five cultivation permits — but Brown asked commissioners to approve the 10 licenses as a way to kickstart the process.

“Approving additional cannabis growing, processing and dispensary licenses in the state will immensely help the program, providing patients with more variety and reducing their travel time to obtain their medicine,” Etain CEO Amy Peckam said. “We cannot wait to bring our high-quality products and formulations to the patients and customers of New Jersey.”

The process was halted for over a year due to a lawsuit by applicants whose applications were rejected due to a file format issue.

By the state’s own estimates, there should be 26 medical marijuana cultivators and 61 dispensaries to handle that number of patients, Brown said. Instead, the state has just 23 active dispensaries selling cannabis grown by only 10 operators.

The CRC did not release information about the licensees except for the region of the state in which they intended to operate.

Ownership changes have become commonplace in the cannabis industry, especially in states with medical marijuana programs where weed has since been legalized.