NJ Medical Marijuana Program Expanded By Order Of Governor

David Madden
March 27, 2018 - 5:45 pm
Medical marijuana in paper cup with prescription. Document is fictitious.

TRENTON, NJ (KYW NEWSRADIO) -- New Jersey's medical marijuana program will expand under orders of Governor Phil Murphy to allow more people to take advantage of it, along with changes to make the drug easier and less expensive to obtain.

Jon Corzine signed it into law. Chris Christie implemented it. Murphy will make changes after a 2 month review of the status quo, noting the problems over the last 8 years.

"The bureaucratic conditions put in place limited its availability," Murphy said. "It stifled the law's ability to help and imparted, if that weren't enough, a stigma both on those who sought to use medical marijuana and the doctors willing to prescribe it."

As a result, he says only 18,000 people are enrolled in the program, far less than other states with populations smaller than New Jersey.

"We're going to make it easier for patients to participate in our medical marijuana program," the governor added. "We will expand both access to and the supply of medical marijuana. And finally, we will join with our legislative partners to pursue necessary statutory changes to better meet the needs of patients."

The cost to join the program is now cut in half from $200 to $100. Seniors and veterans will be included in a lower $20 fee now available for those on government assistance.

Five new categories are being added to the list of illnesses for which medical marijuana can be prescribed, including anxiety, migraines and Tourette's Syndrome. Murphy is also suggesting that opioid recovery be added to the list, although that is not required at this point.

Doctors will no longer be required to be on a public registry. It will now be optional. Just over 500 physicians are signed up statewide, and it's thought the registry requirement kept that number down.

Legislation will be needed to expand beyond the six dispensaries authorized under the original law. Five are currently open across the state. The governor also wants to allow satellite offices for those dispensaries to increase availability and lower cost of the product.