Volume 9/Issue 9

  • Adult Use Marijuana to Head to 2020 Ballot
  • Medical Marijuana Program to Expand

As hopes for adult-use legalization moves to the ballot in 2020, Murphy Administration takes action on medical marijuana rules

This week, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that there were insufficient votes to legalize recreational marijuana through the Legislature and would instead look to put the issue up for voters to decide, likely in November 2020.

Sweeney plans to move forward with bills to expand the state's medical marijuana program and expunge existing marijuana convictions. Speaker Craig Coughlin agreed with the Senate President’s decision to move ahead with the bill to fix the flaws in the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Coughlin said the foundation of his support for adult use cannabis is social justice and social equity and as such, he plans to move expungement legislation in the Assembly.

Cannabis advocates point out that passing the medical expansion bill without full legalization will fall short on delivering on the expungement and social justice aspects of the legalization effort.

On Monday, May 20th, the following marijuana-related bills are scheduled to be heard in committee:

S10/A10 - Revises requirements to authorize and access medical cannabis; establishes requirements for institutional caregivers; revises permit requirements for alternative treatment centers; and establishes additional legal protections for patients and caregivers.

S2426/A3740 - Authorizes medical marijuana for treatment of any diagnosed condition; revises requirements for physicians to authorize qualifying patients; and revises requirements for alternative treatment center operations and permitting.

S3205/A4498 - Revises certain procedures for expungement of records of conviction.

A5325 - Provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly with respect to legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offenses as well as expungement eligibility and procedures.

The Murphy Administration formally adopts new rules for the State’s Medical Marijuana Program

Earlier this week, the New Jersey Department of Health announced the formal adoption of rule changes that resulted from Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 6. Executive Order 6 provided the outline for an expanded and improved Medical Marijuana program and this week’s action is the latest step by the Murphy Administration to increase patient access. Under Governor Murphy, New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has grown from about 15,000 to over 46,000 patients and is currently averaging about 2,000 new patients per month.

Changes to existing rules:

  • Reducing the registration fee for patients and their caregivers from $200 to $100.
  • Adding seniors and military veterans for the reduced registration fee of $20.
  • Authorizing patients to designate two primary caregivers instead of one.
  • Formalize the addition of seven “debilitating medical conditions,” including post-traumatic stress disorder, and six new conditions, including anxiety and chronic pain.
  • Allowing physicians to opt out of inclusion on a public list of participating physicians.
  • Expanding the forms of medical marijuana available in New Jersey to include oil-based formulations, like vape devices.

New rules:

  • Creating a separate permitting system for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana for medical purposes, which would increase the available supply of, and patient access to, usable marijuana and allow for specialization in the market.
  • Allowing the Commissioner of Health to add new “debilitating medical conditions” instead of requiring review by the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel.
  • Removing the requirement of psychiatric evaluation as a condition of physician certification of minors as qualifying patients.