Sweeping Changes To New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program Announced

Medical cannabis in New Jersey
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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced major reforms to the state’s medicinal marijuana program to make it more patient-friendly.

In January this year, Governor Murphy ordered a review of the state’s program, with a goal of building on it and improving access to cannabis medicines.

Rather than being a drawn out process as these things often are, the results are in and 20 recommendations were made that Governor Murphy will act on.

“Some of these changes will take time, but we are committed to getting it done for all New Jersey residents who can be helped by access to medical marijuana,” said the Governor.

Among the immediate changes,  five new categories of medical conditions will be eligible for cannabis medication – anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders and chronic visceral pain. New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal will also be able to add further conditions as he sees fit.

Other immediate improvements to the program include lowering the biennial patient registration fee by 50% ($200 to $100) and adding veterans and seniors aged 65+ to the list of those who qualify for the heavily discounted $20 registration fee.

Additionally, the one-caregiver limit per patient will be lifted and Alternative Treatment Centers will be able to apply to open satellite locations to help address short term supply issues.

In a move that will please many doctors, any physician who meets the medical marijuana program’s requirements will be able to prescribe marijuana without appearing on a public registry.

Other reforms in the works:

  • Allowing for direct cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing of medical-grade marijuana
  • Expedite the application process for future alternative treatment centers
  • Increasing the monthly limit on the amount of product that can be purchased from two ounces to four ounces, and for patients in hospice care, there will be no limit
  • Legislation allowing patients to register at more than one treatment center.
  • Allowing the use of edibles for adults living with dexterity or other issues.

“Our administration will be guided by facts and science, not politics,” said Governor Murphy. “It has taken eight years, and a change of administrations, for that simple principle to be restored.”

Further details of the reforms can be viewed here and the review report prepared by the Department of Health here.