- Governor Murphy Unveils Plan To Improve New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program: Focus on Increasing Patient Access to Care
Governor Murphy Unveils Plan to Improve New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program: Focus on Increasing Patient Access to Care
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released a report from the New Jersey Department of Health that outlined a plan to increase patient access to the state’s medical marijuana program. Advocates had complained for years that the existing program was too rigid and inaccessible for patients in need of care and the Department’s recommendations were developed in response to an Executive Order that Governor Murphy signed in January after he took office.
Many of the program’s recommendations can be implemented quickly through regulatory changes while others are statutory changes requiring legislative action.
Regulatory changes outlined in the report include the addition of five new qualifying medical conditions: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders and chronic visceral pain. The plan also calls for a reduction in patient participation fees and the elimination of physician registry requirements that discourage doctor participation.
Regulatory changes will make it easier for the state’s existing Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) to expand to meet increased demand and will allow for additional operator licenses in three separate categories – cultivation, manufacturing/processing and dispensing. Monthly limits on the amount a patient can purchase will increase from 2 ounces to 4 ounces.
Recommendations requiring legislative action include permitting patients in hospice care to receive an unlimited supply and allowing patient access to edible forms of marijuana.