TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that the state Department of Health received 146 applications from 106 organizations looking to join the state’s growing medical marijuana program.

Officials announced July 16 that the state was requesting applications for six new medical marijuana dispensaries to add to the existing six operational ones, including Compassionate Care Foundation in Egg Harbor Township.

Two licenses will be awarded for each region of the state — north, central and south — and successful applicants will be notified of their selection around Nov. 1, state officials said.

Applicants had to indicate which region of the state they planned to operate an alternative treatment center. Department of Health officials said 50 applicants were in the northern region, 45 in the central region and 51 in the southern region.

“By expanding alternative treatment center locations in New Jersey, we are putting patients first and ensuring more convenient access to medical marijuana,” Murphy said in a statement. “This is another step forward in removing barriers put in place by the previous administration and creating a more consumer-friendly program.”

South Jersey investors and companies that have applied for the licenses include:

• Relevant 1 LLC, a cannabis company formed by Dr. Ira Trocki, owner of Egg Harbor City Boat Co. and Northfield-based plastic surgeon, and Dr. Jon Regis, CEO and president of Reliance Medical Center;

• Superior Grow Lab and partners James DiNatale, owner of RGC3 LLC, and George Miller, an Atlantic City-based attorney and;

• Cresco Atlantic, an Atlantic City-based team formed by members of Calvi Electric and Longview Strategic LLC.

The Pleasantville Planning Board on Tuesday gave preliminary and final site plan approval to Superior Grow Lab to redevelop the former site of The Press of Atlantic City offices on Devins Lane into a medical marijuana facility.

Property owner James DiNatale said construction could begin the day after the state announces who will receive the licenses.

About 800 investors and interested parties attended a pre-application conference Aug. 9 in Trenton.

Organizations had to submit finalized applications by the Aug. 31 deadline to be in the running.

Applicants are required to cultivate and manufacture medical marijuana, as well as dispense it. The growing and dispensing facilities can be separate or be in the same location, and can be nonprofit or for-profit businesses.

“Program participation has surpassed 30,000 individuals as a result of reforms already made, and we expect that number to keep growing,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement. “We need more alternative treatment centers to keep pace with the demand for a therapy that has been unjustly restricted for so long.”

Ahmad Austin contributed to this report.

Contact: 609-272-7022 NLeonard@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

Staff Writer

Previously interned and reported for Boston.com, The Asbury Park Press, The Boston Globe

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