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New Jersey regulators Tuesday approved 30 new licenses to companies who will sell medicinal marijuana, more than doubling the number of retail locations for a growing pool of patients who for years complained about long commutes to obtain legal cannabis.

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission voted to award provisional licenses to 30 companies, 10 each in the central, northern and southern regions of the state.

Tuesday night’s announcement is essentially part two of the medicinal marijuana program’s long-awaited expansion, first proposed in 2019 but delayed by legal challenges.

In October, the commission awarded permits to 14 growers who had applied for a license in 2019. In recognition of the program’s stifled growth and delays, the Commission’s Executive Director Jeff Brown recommended doubling the number of cultivators.

On Tuesday night, Brown once again recommended awarding 30 licenses instead of the 15 dispensary the state advertised for two years ago.

There are now 23 dispensaries serving an average of 5,300 patients per retail site. Patients have long complained the program’s small scale requires them to drive hours, only to

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