Is New Jersey medical marijuana program the most expensive in nation?

NEW JERSEY — In the eight months since New Jersey’s first dispensary — Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair — opened, patients and providers have learned the nation’s most restrictive medical marijuana program is also the most expensive.

From registration fees and required multiple doctor visits that insurance won’t cover, to sales tax and the price of pot, New Jersey’s costs are generally higher than the 10 other states and Washington, D.C., that permit medical marijuana retail sales, according to a Star-Ledger analysis.

The review found:

• New Jersey is tied for second for the costliest registration fee ($200 for two years), has the third-highest sales tax (7 percent) and the steepest marijuana prices, according to state and dispensary websites.

• Greenleaf patients say they have spent from $440 to $560 for an ounce of marijuana, depending on the strain. Only Washington, D.C.’s sole dispensary, which opened last week, comes close, charging $440 an ounce for its most expensive strain. Montana offers the best bargain, charging on average $261 an ounce.

• A New Jersey patient getting started in the program can spend $700 for an ID card and an ounce of marijuana, compared with $300 in Colorado, $510 in Washington, D.C., $531 in Arizona, and $460 in Michigan.

The report published by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger used state and dispensary websites, patient interviews, and medical marijuana industry and other published reports to compile the information on Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.


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