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Building a Cannabis Dispensary in New Jersey

New Jersey Cannabis Legal Status: Medical and Recreational Sales are Legal

New Jersey allows the sale and consumption of medical marijuana and a referendum voted on in the November, 2020 to legalize cannabis for adult use has been approved.

There is one primary governing body of New Jersey cannabis: The New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Medical Marijuana. The New Jersey Department of Health , Division of Medical Marijuana inspects the cannabis dispensaries for final operation approval, but construction is governed by the local municipal building departments.

Building Code

Building a dispensary in New Jersey is subject to both local municipal building inspections, which follows the universal building code and also final inspections by the New Jersey Department of Health, Department of Medical Marijuana.

Technically, a dispensary in New Jersey is defined as an ‘Alternate Treatment Center’ (ATC).

The final New Jersey cannabis building inspections are done through the local municipal building department but operation approval also must pass inspection by the New Jersey Department of Health. Local building inspectors will inspect that all building code requirements and standard life safety items have been satisfactorily met in the cannabis dispensary and the New Jersey Department of Health will inspect that the dispensary-specific requirements have been met such as proper surveillance, online monitoring, and required vault construction among other items.

There are three (3) cannabis regions in New Jersey, broken down as follows:

Northern  Region

Dispensary endorsements: 5

Central Region

Dispensary endorsements: 5

Southern Region

Dispensary endorsements: 5

Security Requirements

There are a number of things a Cannabis Dispensary must implement in order to be in compliance with Division of Medical Marijuana security requirements.

These requirements include:

  • Each Cannabis Dispensary must provide effective controls and procedures to guard against theft and diversion of marijuana including, when appropriate, systems to protect against electronic records tampering.
  • At a minimum, each cannabis dispensary must install and operate a safety and security alarm system in good working order 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • New Jersey Cannabis Dispensaries must keep the outside areas well-lit.
  • New Jersey Cannabis Dispensaries must keep access from outside the premises to a minimum and ensure that access is well controlled.
  • New Jersey Cannabis Dispensaries must also equip interior and exterior premises with electronic monitoring, video cameras and panic buttons. Specifically, it is required that a video surveillance system be installed and operated to clearly monitor all critical control activities of the New Jersey cannabis dispensaries are in working order and operating at all times.
  • New Jersey cannabis dispensaries must limit entry into areas — where marijuana is held — to authorized personnel and provide onsite parking.

New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary Vault:

The walls, floors, and ceilings of the vault are typically constructed of at least eight (8) inches of reinforced concrete or other substantial masonry, reinforced vertically and horizontally with one-half (1⁄2) inch steel rods tied six (6) inches on center, or the structural equivalent to such reinforced walls, floors, and ceilings.

Alternate methods of metal stud framing and barrier mesh is allowed under certain circumstances. 

Zoning Law

The New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana program rules require a New Jersey cannabis dispensary to provide the Department with written verification of a municipal government body in which the cannabis dispensary will be located. As with other facilities the Department licenses, it is the responsibility of the dispensary to work with the local governing body in the municipality they are seeking to locate. Evidence of compliance with local codes and ordinances is also required prior to issuance of a permit.

The New Jersey Department of Health does not set zoning buffers, that is left to be decided by the local municipalities.


During the 2020 elections New Jersey became the first mid-Atlantic state to legalize adult-use cannabis, New Jersey is now tasked with determining when they will begin accepting adult-use retail license applications and setting up rules and regulations for the consumer marketplace. The state is expected to see annual sales of nearly a trillion dollars by 2024.

New Jersey Cannabis
Trade Associations

New Jersey Cannabusiness Association (NJBCA)

“The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association promotes jobs and growth in a sustainable and responsible cannabis industry in the Garden State. Starting with the pioneers in the medical cannabis market to the emerging players in the adult-use space, our focus is to make certain that decision makers and regulators understand and respect the needs of the cannabusiness community and that our community remains responsible corporate citizens.”

Contact email for the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association: [email protected]

NJ Cannabis Business Logo

Cannabis News – Active Dispensaries

Atlantic City

The Botanist 1301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City NJ


Curaleaf 111 Coolidge Avenue, Bellmawr NJ


Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center 2 Corporate Drive, Cranbury NJ 

Egg Harbor Township

Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. 100 Century Drive, Egg Harbor Township NJ


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Rise196 3rd Ave #3c, Paterson NJ


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Columbia Care 1062 N Delsea Drive, Vineland NJ


950 U.S. Highway 1 North, Woodbridge NJ