New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on March 27 broad expansions to the state’s medical marijuana program. Chief among the changes: Five new categories were added to the state’s list of qualifying conditions: anxiety, migraines, Tourette syndrome, chronic pain relating to musculoskeletal disorders and visceral pain relating to internal organs.
The announcement comes 60 days after Murphy’s promise to review the access to and costs of medical marijuana in the state. That promise resulted in a 26-page executive order report, embedded below, which addresses the shortcomings of New Jersey’s 2008 medical marijuana legislation and the potential for safer, more widespread access to the plant.
“The days of making residents jump through hoops are coming to an end,” Murphy said in Trenton on March 27. “When an emergent need shows itself, patients should not have to wait for bureaucracy to catch up.”
The state’s Department of Health (DOH) will be empowered to add qualifying conditions. Murphy said that he’d like to see the department include opioid addiction as a condition—and that, perhaps the Garden State can be a national leader inusing medical marijuana as an “offensive weapon” in the fight against the country’s opioid crisis.
Additionally, program registration costs will be halved, dropping from $200 to $100. Senior citizens and veterans will be extended a $20 registration rate.
Once patients are registered, they must identify a single treatment center (or dispensary) where they will purchase marijuana, at least for now. Murphy, citing the report, said he will support legislation to allow patients to make purchases at more than one location, as well as legislation to allow edibles to be sold and purchased by adult patients.
“Since 2010 reality has never matched the promise [of the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2008],” Murphy said. “Today is the first step in restoring