Medical cannabis patients in New Jersey can now get home delivery after the Department of Health issued a waiver on Thursday. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli linked the new rules to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that dispensaries will be allowed to deliver to patients across the state once they have submitted a plan to the agency and it is approved.
Delivery was included in the medical cannabis expansion law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) last year but the service never launched.
Under the Health Department-approved rules, only dispensary employees are permitted to make the deliveries – meaning delivery companies will not be allowed to offer the service. The employee must undergo a background check and all delivery vehicles must be equipped with GPS tracking and a lockbox.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Health Department officials have made several tweaks to the medical cannabis program in order to ease patient barriers, including reducing caregiver fees to $20, allowing telephone consultations and curbside dispensing, and increasing options for discounts.
The agency also permitted the opening of two dispensaries during the pandemic, bringing the total to 11 statewide.
In December, the state legislature approved a measure to put broad cannabis legalization on general election ballots, putting the issue to voters rather than approving the reforms themselves. An April Monmouth University poll found 61 percent of New Jersey voters supported the reforms, suggesting cannabis will be legalized in the state in November.
There are currently 78,698 patients and 3,104 caregivers registered with the program.