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The recently elected Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey

Phil Murphy

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order requiring the Department of Health and Board of Medical Examiners to complete a review of the state’s medical marijuana program and submit any recommended changes for the program within 60 days. The goal of the review is to eliminate access barriers for patients who are not currently permitted under the limited scope of the regime, originally approved in 2010 by former governor and prohibitionist Chris Christie.

“Many aspects of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program are written in statute, but our law is eight years old. Since it took effect, significant medical research has been conducted. Our goal is to modernize the program in New Jersey, bring it up to current standards, and put patients first.” – Murphy, in a press release

The move also requires regulators to review the rules demanding medical professional to “publicly register” as certified medical cannabis prescribers which, Murphy says, has led many medical professionals to choose not to participate in the program due to the potential stigma associated with it.

The order states that “medical decisions must be based on science and health, not ideology or social policy.”

“We need to treat our residents with compassion. We cannot turn a deaf ear to our veterans, the families of children facing terminal illness, or to any of the other countless New Jerseyans who only wish to be treated like people, and not criminals. And, doctors deserve the ability to provide their patients with access to medical marijuana free of stigmatization.” – Murphy, in the release

The release states that Murphy “remains committed” to working with the Legislature on “comprehensive” cannabis reform. Murphy had included tax-and-regulate in his campaign platform. Earlier this month, Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced legislation to implement adult-use reforms.

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