New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has signed a law allowing medical cannabis recommendations to be made via telehealth services. The state first allowed telemedicine recommendations for medical cannabis patients in August 2020 amid the state’s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint statement, the bill sponsors—Democratic Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt and Joann Downey—said the law utilizes “today’s technology to help provide easier access to this beneficial medication on behalf of the people who need it the most.”
“Many medicinal marijuana patients suffer from conditions that limit mobility, making frequent visits to the doctor’s office a significant barrier to the medicine they need. The pain relief, muscle relaxation, nausea prevention and anxiety reduction of medical marijuana are too important to the people suffering from severe medical conditions to be hindered by in-person doctor visitation requirements.”—Lampitt and Downey in a press release
Republican state Sen. Declan O’Scanlan, who carried the measure in the chamber, said the reforms “enable qualified medical cannabis patients who are medically fragile and homebound to mitigate their suffering.”
“Those who are terminally ill, in hospice care, confined to long-term care facilities, developmentally disabled, or certified homebound could benefit from easier access to prescriptions,” he said in a press release.
The law—which the governor conditionally vetoed in April over concerns about the 270-day waiting period before enactment—permits health care practitioners to initially authorize any qualifying patient in New Jersey for the medical use of cannabis via telehealth, as long as the use of the telecare is consistent with the standards required for in-person assessment and treatment.
The version signed by Murphy removed the 270-day waiting period and the measure is effective immediately.
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