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March 28, 2018, New jersey
Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey, has endorsed the expansion of the state’s MMJ program this Tuesday. Murphy asked for a review of the program through an executive order earlier this year. He told the cannabis regulators of the state to submit their suggestions to streamline the state’s MMJ program within two months. The intent of these amendments is to serve MMJ patients in a better way.
In January while issuing the executive order, Gov. Murphy said that the state must not ignore the grievances of the families with minors suffering from terminal diseases, veterans and all the other residents who just want to get their MMJ for therapeutic reasons and didn’t want to be treated like lawbreakers.
The amended MMJ program has been added with several provisions which will expand its scope to serve more medical cannabis patients of the state. According to Murphy, the changes in the program are intended to change the restraining nature of the program to make it more accessible to patients. The expanded MMJ program now incorporates these significant improvements.
Reducing the caregiver and patient biennial registration fee by half and veterans and senior citizenry can sign up by paying as low as $20.
A recommendation to amend the law to increase the monthly limit of MMJ products to four ounces, no limit for hospice patients and allowing edible medical cannabis products for adults.
However, all the proposed changes will take time to come into effect because the state legislature will review them before their inclusion in the program. One provision of the proposal also calls for home delivery of MMJ products. The governor also accepts that all these changes will not be implemented overnight.
Another positive amid this development is physicians favoring MMJ patients. A commissioner from New Jersey Department of Heath, Shereef Elnahal, proposed 20 changes in the program after consulting a number of patients and other concerned entities. These recommendations were part of the report submitted to the governor by the regulators.
According to Elnahal, he made these recommendations after witnessing therapeutic effects of medical cannabis on patients with difficult medical conditions such as cancer. Extensive discussions with patients, their caregivers and dispensaries also helped him in devising his recommendations.
Medical Marijuana program in New Jersey became a part of the law eight years ago when former governor Jon Corzine authorized the MMJ bill as he was leaving the office. From then on, roughly 18,000 patients and more than 500 physicians have become part of the program. But these numbers are very low for the state with a population of more than 9 million.
Chris Christie succeeded Corzine and remained hostile toward all sorts of marijuana reforms during his tenure. Luckily, the incumbent governor advocates controlled use of cannabis and promised to implement reforms during his gubernatorial campaign.