The State Health Department will from next week have the authority to expand medical cannabis’s demand and supply in New Jersey. This is a big priority for the administration of Governor Phil Murphy, as getting marijuana legalized in 2019 now seems quite unlikely.
For the very first time, the Department will be in a position to come up with a permit granting the system that divides the cannabis industry between farmers, manufacturers, and retailers. The 6 operating nonprofits that serve the current 46,300 registered patients control every aspect of this process, as will the next 6 that were given contracts in December.
The issuance of permits for different segments of the medical cannabis business is projected to open doors to smaller entrepreneurs, promote growth in the industry, and produce medicine since approximately 2000 patients join the program monthly.
On May 20, other new rules are set to take effect that will allow the health commissioner to increase the number of medical conditions that make the patients qualify for the program. This could eventually replace the process formerly put in place by the 2010 law that demands the medical marijuana review panel to conduct multiple public hearings over a period of 6 months prior to making recommendations to the commissioner of health. With more conditions added by the state, there will be more demand for the program.
Shereef Elnahal, the state health commissioner, said that the rules would solidify key reforms in the program to make sure that more patients access the effective therapy offered by medical cannabis. He went to announce that with the changes, the department will be in a position to remove barriers for minors, add qualifying conditions, and increase the supply of the product.
Medical marijuana is now available for migraines, anxiety, and chronic pains.
Patients will spend less registering for the program, and there will be more locations from where they can conveniently buy the medicine. Additionally, people will encounter lesser bureaucratic obstacles when enrolling to the program.
Moreover, the new rules will do away with the requirements that a psychiatrist needs to recommend a minor patient before the patient can be enrolled in the program.
The state government’s rule-making process calls for the advertisement of changes in the New Jersey Register. Other requirements are a biweekly publication and solicit written and oral comment from the public. Amended rules will be published again to taking effect.
The most recent rule changes will appear in the register’s May 20 edition.
Most of the rule changes took effect fourteen months ago under the governor’s executive orders. These include:
• Reduction of the registration fee for caregivers and their patients $200 to $100. Seniors and veterans were added to persons eligible with a reduced registration cost of $20.
• Patients were allowed to designate a maximum of 2 key caregivers other than just one. The caregivers can buy cannabis on dispensaries on behalf of their patients.
• Anxiety, migraines, Opioid use disorder, Tourette syndrome, and several forms of chronic pain were added to the list of qualifying health conditions.
• The forms of medical marijuana available were expanded to include products that are oil-based.
Legislators are anticipated to approve a new law that ushers in even broader changes. However, this fate is tied to the current legalization bill that currently lacks enough support to pass.