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New Jersey Legislation Would Expand MMJ Program

New Jersey Sen. Joseph Vitale has unveiled an early draft of legislation to expand the state’s medical cannabis program which would see several conditions added to the qualifying conditions list, increase the purchase amount per 30 days, and set up employment protections for the state’s registered patients, the Press of Atlantic City reports.

What else is in the bill:

  • Any healthcare provider that is allowed to prescribe dangerous substances would be allowed to recommend medical cannabis;
  • out-of-state registered patients and caregivers would be able to possess and administer medical cannabis in the state, but they would not be allowed to make purchases at New Jersey dispensaries;
  • patients would be allowed to make purchases from any dispensary, not just the one they are registered with;
  • limits on edibles to minors would be removed;
  • the Health Department would evaluate whether there are enough dispensaries to meet patients demand, if not new permits would be issued and 15 percent of those permits would be issued to a minority, woman, or veteran-owned business;
  • dispensaries would be able to establish a medical advisory board to advise on business operations;
  • patients and caregivers could not be discriminated against when enrolling in schools, colleges, and universities, or when renting property.

The employee protections prohibit employers from taking action against patients enrolled in the program if they fail a drug test for cannabis. The employer would have to prove that the employee’s medical cannabis use impaired their ability to fulfill their duties.

The draft does not outline which conditions would be added to the regime. Last March, the state — at the behest of Gov. Phil Murphy — added anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain. The state added 1,000 new patients in the month after the new conditions were added.

Vitale’s bill is not final and has not yet been introduced.

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