The NJ Courier Post online reports
Two applicants were chosen for the north, central and southern parts of the state.
In South Jersey, Columbia Care New Jersey can now apply to grow and dispense medical marijuana in Vineland.
MPX New Jersey can apply to grow marijuana in Galloway Township and dispense the medication in nearby Atlantic City.
Though it offered businesses just six weeks to submit proposals, the state saw strong competition for the licenses, drawing interest from around the country and Canada. There were 50 applicants for the northern region, 45 in the central region and 51 in the southern region, according to the department.
The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, said his department will meet with the applicants early next year to refine timetables for growing marijuana and opening their doors.
About 38,000 people are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, more than double the number who signed up during former Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.
“Six very strong applicants were selected, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” Elnahal said in a released statement. “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.”
Before receiving approval to grow medical marijuana, the applicants must pass background checks, provide evidence of a dispensary location and municipal approval, and comply with all regulations under the Division of Medical Marijuana, including safety and security requirements, according to the release.
MPX New Jersey LLC is a subsidiary of Ontario-based MPX Bioceutical Corp. Beth Stavola of Red Bank is listed as a member or manager, according to state records. She is a former executive with a Wall Street investment banking firm, who later built several medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, according to a profile by USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey.
She is also chief operating officer for MPX and a trustee member of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, according to an MPX release.
Last week, the fast-growing company announced it won four conditional retail marijuana store licenses in Nevada. Its subsidiaries also operate in Arizona, Massachusetts and Maryland.
Representatives for MPX and Columbia Care could not be reached immediately for comment. A representative for Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam also did not immediately comment.
Columbia Care New Jersey’s parent company operates marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, D.C., California, Delaware, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland and Virginia.