On May 13th New Jersey’s Department of Health (“DOH”) amended it Medicinal Marijuana Program Rules, N.J.A.C. 8:64 Et. Seq, establishing standards by which the DOH implements New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1, Et. Seq, assimilating Governor. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order #6 tasking the DOH with reviewing all Medicinal Marijuana Program (“Program”) aspects to expand access and eliminate bureaucratic barriers.
Currently, the Program has 46,300 patients, 950 doctors and 1,850 caregivers and, according to DOH Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal, “These rules solidify key program reforms to ensure greater patient access to this effective therapy” and enable the DOH “to add conditions more rapidly, remove barriers for minors and increase supply of product available.”
The Rules codify already in-effect changes:
– reducing qualifying patients and caregivers registration fee from $200 to $100;
– making seniors and military veterans “$20 reduced registration fee” eligible ;
– increasing qualifying patients’ designated primary caregivers from 1 to 2;
– adding of 7 “debilitating medical conditions” including PTSD by statutory enactment and 6 new conditions (anxiety, chronic pain of visceral origin, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, Tourette syndrome, and Opioid Use Disorder) by DOH’s petition decision;
– allowing physicians to “opt out” of “public participating physicians’ list inclusion”;
– elevating Program to division status within the DOH; and
– adding oil-based (i.e., vape cartridges) medical marijuana to available list.
Additionally, the Rule changes include:
– creating a separate permitting system for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana for medical purposes (increasing the available supply of, and patient access to, usable marijuana and allow for market specialization);
-streamlining “adding debilitating medical conditions petition process” by removing requirement that petitions first be referred to tMedicinal Marijuana Review Panel;
-emphasizing Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel’s advisory role to include providing guidance and recommendations to the DOH regarding the medical use of marijuana; and
– removing “psychiatric evaluation requirement” as a condition of physician certification of minors as qualifying patients.
The Rules changes are available at: https://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/program-rules/.
Steve Schain is a Senior Attorney to Hoban Law Group and admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Steve represents entities, governments and individuals in choosing a structure, preparing and submitting license application, regulation, compliance and litigation, and drafting legislation. A nationally recognized consumer finance litigation, banking law and cannabis law expert, Steve is a The Legal Intelligencer and Cannabis Business Executive columnist, frequent Pennsylvania Bar Institute and National Bar Institute author and lecturer and serves as a court appointed judge pro tempore and arbitrator.
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