New Jersey medical cannabis patients can now get recommendations for the program via telemedicine, according to a Fresh Toast report. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called telehealth “an important option for patients and providers” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed a temporary waiver allowing medical cannabis practitioners to approve patients for the program. The state must follow those DEA rules and practitioners must ensure that they are issuing approvals for approved qualifying conditions.
Earlier this month, a New Jersey physician was suspended by the State Board of Medical Examiners for “indiscriminately” authorizing medical cannabis for “thousands of patients.”
“Today, we are making it easier for patients to choose telehealth services for any reason, including to avoid an in-person visit due to the continuing risk of COVID-19. Doctors who use telemedicine to prescribe CDS or authorize medical marijuana will be held to the same professional standards as for in-person visits and must comply with all of the important safeguards we have adopted to prevent diversion and misuse.” – Grewal in a press release
In June, the Department of Health issued a waiver allowing medical cannabis to be delivered to patient homes. Amid the pandemic, New Jersey 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, curbside dispensing, and increasing options for discounts.
New Jersey voters will decide whether to broadly legalize cannabis in the state in November; two polls – from April and July – suggest the reforms will pass.
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