New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a bill renewing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law.
The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act “increases the amount of marijuana patients can purchase each month from two ounces to three ounces; removes limits for terminally ill patients, and legalizes edible forms of the drug.” (http://www.ansellgrimm.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Josh_Bauchner_medical_marijuan.pdf)
Jake Honig was a young boy who died because of brain cancer. This act can help the lives of future cancer patients and patients of other diseases. The signing of the new bill by Mr. Murphy made this expansion of medical marijuana possible in his state. We agree with Murphy’s disposition on the ability of marijuana to act as a form of treatment. Murphy tweeted, “We must continue to expand access to this life-changing medical treatment.”
This bill will remove restrictions on access to medical marijuana and will enable more alternative treatment centers.
“Section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) pertaining to ‘alternative treatment centers’ was amended to read as follows:
7. a. The department shall accept applications from entities for permits to operate as alternative treatment centers and may charge a reasonable fee for the issuance of a permit under this section. The department shall seek to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of alternative treatment centers throughout the State, pursuant to need, including at least two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the State.” https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S2000/1955_I1.HTM
An alternative treatment center (ATC) can plant, grow, manufacture, and deliver marijuana to qualified patients who are registered with the “department pursuant to section 4 of this act.” The department decides the quantity of marijuana that is allowed to be grown at each center. Once an issue is permitted, qualifying patients can receive marijuana in any form approved by the government.
Alternative treatment centers will provide easier access to cannabis for cancer patients and patients of other illnesses that are registered with the department under this act. The expansion of alternative treatment centers could help patients ease their debilitating pain – oils and edible forms of marijuana tend to have that effect.
According to the Department of Health of the State of New Jersey, five new categories of debilitating conditions have been added that have been effective since March 27th, 2018, which will expand the number of patients eligible to participate in the Medicinal Marijuana Program. Here is a graph of the numbers the Department of Health has provided for:
Cultivation, dispensing and vertically integrated permits. The Department of Health gives more information regarding these endorsements here https://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/alt-treatment-centers/applications.shtml
Applicants may only submit one application per region and are allowed up to 3 endorsements total. For vertically integrated permits, applicants may only submit one application total because they (vertically integrated permits) constitute 3 endorsements.
On July 1st 2019, the Department of Health of New Jersey posted an update regarding the expansion of the medical marijuana program of the state. Application forms will be posted on or before July 15th. For Dispensary, applications will be due on August 21st and for Cultivation and Vertically Integrated, applications will be due August 22nd. Once the application is completed, the Department should approve or deny an applicant within 60 days.
We are very happy that the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act is to take effect immediately and that the Governor of New Jersey advocates the legalization of marijuana – especially for people who need it. If you have any further questions regarding information on the Senate Bill No. 1955, feel free to consult one of our attorneys at Margolin & Lawrence.