The fifth medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey, and the second in Middlesex County opened in the Garden State earlier this fall. New Jersey currently serves 3,052 registered medical marijuana patients, up from 2,165 in 2014, according to the state’s annual report on the medicinal marijuana program. There are about 5,500 registered patients and caregivers enrolled in the program in the State.
There are strict laws about growing the crop in the state and the medical marijuana program bars dispensaries from using pesticides on its cannabis crops.
Many New Jersey residents are wondering if marijuana will ever be legal for everyone in New Jersey. Chris Christie has said he considered marijuana a gateway drug and the tax revenue raised by the sale of recreational marijuana use is the equivalent of blood money. He has said that if elected president, he would challenge the states that have already legalized it for recreational use.
Meanwhile, NJ State Senator Nicholas Scutari has proposed a bill to legalize marijuana use. Under the bill, local elected officials could impose an ordinance barring a dispensary or any pot-related business from opening, and dictate how many would be allowed, hours of operation and licensing fees and regulations. Sales tax and application fee revenue would be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund, drug enforcement and prevention efforts, and women’s health programs, which Christie has cut since taking office in 2010.
While hearings on the bill will likely take some time, if you have immediate medical needs that you feel warrant the use of medicinal marijuana, you will want to research becoming a registered patient. In order to become a registered patient with the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP), you must:
- Maintain a bona fide relationship with a physician who is registered with the program
- Be a New Jersey resident
- Be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a New Jersey physician registered with the MMP
Approved debilitating medical conditions include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
- Muscular dystrophy
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life
Learn more about medical marijuana in NJ on the NJ Department of Health‘s website.