As legalization of recreational marijuana appears as though it will not pass this legislative session, Governor Phil Murphy has submitted an executive order to amend the state's medical marijuana program rules in order to increase medical marijuana entrepreneurial opportunities, product supply, and access.
The rule changes include establishing separate licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries, as well as streamlining the process to add qualifying medical conditions to the program. The new rules also remove the requirement that the petitions for new qualifying conditions must first go to the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel. State regulators also codified some changes already in effect, including qualifying medical conditions that were previously added by Murphy’s administration. You can review all details of the changes in the New Jersey Department of Health’s News Release.
Additionally, a bill to further expand the state’s medical marijuana program is quickly advancing through the state legislature. The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, which would legalize cannabis-infused edibles and remove the biggest hurdle in the way of patients looking to register for their medical marijuana cards, recently advanced with a 65-to-5 vote.
Under current law, patients are required to have a bona fide relationship with their doctor, which usually means one year of appointments, before their doctor is able to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment for them. With the removal of this requirement, the process for recommending patients will become quicker and more simplified.
The bill will also establish a new Cannabis Regulatory Commission to regulate the program, legalize home delivery of medical marijuana to registered patients, and allow dispensaries to establish “consumption areas” on premises.
The bill will face a Senate floor vote on May 30, 2019, where it is expected to pass and be sent to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for a final signature into law.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Business Opportunities Included In Bill
The new legislation also calls for the program to have 23 cultivation facilities in the first 18 months (that includes the existing 12 medical marijuana dispensaries, which grow their own cannabis as required by their licenses). The state will issue the 11 cultivation facility licenses needed through a competitive application process. After 18 months, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission may determine if additional cultivation facilities are necessary.
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