Lez Lavinskiy

New Jersey Gov. Announces Changes for ‘More Patient-Friendly’ MMJ Program

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced reforms to the state’s medical cannabis program in an effort to change “the restrictive culture” of the regime and “make it more patient-friendly.” The reforms will add new qualifying conditions, reduce patient and caregiver fees, and increase the amount of product that patients can obtain from dispensaries.

Five new categories of conditions have already been added to the program, including: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain.

The conditions were part of a report to the governor by state Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal, which was required under an executive order signed in January.

“As a physician, I have seen the therapeutic benefits of marijuana for patients with cancer and other difficult conditions. These recommendations are informed by discussions with patients and their families, advocates, dispensary owners, clinicians, and other health professionals on the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel. We are reducing the barriers for all of these stakeholders in order to allow many more patients to benefit from this effective treatment option.” – Elnahal in a statement

Other immediate changes include: lowering the biennial patient registration fees from $200 to $100; allowing military veterans and seniors 65-and-older to qualify for the $20 discounted registration fee; lifting the one-caregiver limit per-patient; allowing dispensaries to open satellite locations; and eliminating the requirement that recommending physicians appear on the state website, although those who wish to be listed on the site will have that option.

Other recommendations include: increasing monthly supply limits to 4 ounces; allowing hospice patients to have an unlimited supply; allowing edibles; and eliminating the requirements that dispensaries be non-profit. Officials did not indicate when these changes would be implemented.

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