Medical Marijuana Legal Update in New Jersey
The medical marijuana program in New Jersey may be expanding as the Health Department is considering submissions on new medical conditions which would qualify patients for the medical marijuana program. Currently, you can go to the Health Department website and download a form to submit regarding medical conditions you believe should be included for consideration for medicinal marijuana. These forms must be submitted by certified mail between August 1st and August 31st, 2016. A medical review panel will then consider any and all submissions and make recommendations to the health department about whether or not those conditions should be included. This is the first time the State of NJ has asked for public input since the medical marijuana program was launched in 2010.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been suggested several times and legislators in Trenton have unsuccessfully tried to have PTSD added to the list of conditions that are treatable by medical marijuana. The current conditions that are presently treatable by medical marijuana in New Jersey are: Multiple Sclerosis, Terminal Cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease) and any other terminal illness.
Patients who have tried conventional treatment and failed may also qualify if they have a seizure disorder (such as epilepsy) or glaucoma. People with HIV/AIDS and cancer may qualify if treatment has caused severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting.
Currently, according to NJ.com, there are 8,162 patients registered with the program, and 472 caregivers. Caregivers are people who have passed background checks and are cleared to pick up marijuana at a dispensary and deliver it to a patient. If you are not a licensed and approved caregiver in NJ, this is a crime for possession of marijuana and distribution of marijuana, both of which are felonies. There are currently 5 valid dispensaries in NJ, with a sixth scheduled to open in Secaucus. The remaining five are in Montclair, Woodbridge, Cranbury, Bellmawr, and Egg Harbor.