A Message from the New Jersey Alternative Treatment Centers Industry Working Group
Our New Jersey cannabis industry working group is comprised of representatives from all twelve of the permitted and pending Alternative Treatment Centers in the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program. Although we are at varying stages of operations, and we have individual business priorities that establish competition among us, we see great value in working together to achieve certain mutual policy goals on behalf of the over 70,000 medical cannabis patients that we serve.
As we are collectively faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are coordinating daily with each other and with the Division of Medicinal Marijuana, under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner of Health Jeff Brown, to ensure the health and safety of our patients, our employees, and the general public. We understand the panic and distress that this pandemic has generated, and we assure you that we are doing everything that we can to provide our patients with the medical cannabis they rely on while implementing social distancing measures and augmenting our hygiene and sanitation practices.
We are grateful that Governor Murphy has designated Alternative Treatment Centers to be essential businesses so that we can remain open to serve the needs of our patients. Many of us have operations in other states, and New Jersey has been exemplary in its proactive communications and timely guidance. While many of our colleagues outside of New Jersey are fighting to remain open through an essential business designation, we have been able to focus on meeting patient need without the fear of closure.
We are also grateful for the regulatory waivers issued by the Division of Medicinal Marijuana. To date, Jeff Brown and his team have granted waivers of regulations to allow us to implement curbside pickup, expedite the authorization of new employees, and eliminate in-person consultations. The Division has also reduced fees for caregivers during this time, which is particularly helpful for patients who are immunocompromised or who are in quarantine.
We ask for your patience as we adjust to this new normal. We understand the frustrations that come with long lines and wait times. We hope that patients can be reassured that our status as essential businesses protects their access. Our overall supply is sufficient to meet patient need, and we ask patients to work with us so that our processes can be compliant and efficient. We are utilizing technology to schedule appointments and implement curbside dispensing. Some of us have set up processes to stagger patient visits to dispensaries. We are discouraging overbuying so that patients can obtain the medical cannabis that they need when they need it. We commend the Division of Medicinal Marijuana for guiding us in these efforts, and we are working to obtain necessary local approvals when needed.
We are healthcare workers who prioritize health and safety. Please understand that the measures we are taking are being done to reduce the risk of viral transmission to or from our staff members and their families. We are experiencing staffing shortages as our employees are faced with new childcare challenges, and we are implementing new operating procedures as regulations evolve. There will be bumps in the road, and we are working together and with the regulators to ensure health and safety during these challenging times.
We are “all hands on deck” at our dispensaries, with executives pitching in to direct traffic, dispense medical cannabis, and even make our own hand sanitizer. We are regularly sanitizing our employees’ reusable masks to reduce the number that we use and have donated masks to local healthcare facilities that are in greater need of them than we are.
We approach this unprecedented pandemic with gratitude. We are grateful that we can remain open to serve our patients. We are grateful that the Governor and the Division of Medicinal Marijuana are both proactive and responsive. We are grateful that our patients and employees trust us to protect their health and safety. We are grateful for your patience and assure patients that they can continue to rely on us to provide them with medical cannabis during this pandemic and beyond.
Breakwater Treatment & Wellness
Columbia Care NJ
Compassionate Care Foundation
Acreage Holdings, Inc
Garden State Dispensary
Greenleaf Compassion Center
GTI New Jersey, LLC
Harmony Foundation of NJ, Inc.
Justice Grown New Jersey
MPX New Jersey, LLC
Verano NJ, LLC