A 2020 Update Of New Jersey's Medical Cannabis Program
The US has seen immense growth in the cannabis industry all thanks to its changing legislation and growth of its medical cannabis program across different states which are thriving. Thus, making access to marijuana easier for patients with the medical marijuana card. Almost all states in the US have legalized the medical use of cannabis aside from a few states like Idaho, and South Dakota. These legalization and medical marijuana programs make it possible for health practitioners to use cannabis as a treatment for illnesses such as chronic pain, cancer, Crohn's disease and many more.
Ten states plus Washington DC have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational and therapeutic purposes and thirty-three states have legalized its use for therapeutic purposes only. New Jersey has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes as of now, but is strongly pushing politically for its full legalization and is showing signs of progress in its reform bills by decriminalizing the possession of cannabis and the enactment of the Jake Honing Compassionate Use Act.
The west coast has been the main market for years leading the industry with states like Colorado, Washington, and California turning out huge numbers and having a stable industry. This comes down to their more favorable laws, as they have regulated the use of marijuana at least medically a while ago. A bigger pointer is that of the 11 states that legalized recreational use of marijuana, a handful of them are from the west, who are quickly tapping into the ever lucrative cannabis market.
The east coast is catching up, and states like New York and New Jersey are at the forefront with regards to making legislative changes and expanding their medical cannabis program. To be able to access cannabis in New Jersey you need to have a medical cannabis card. Getting a New Jersey medical marijuana card requires seeing a physician who will evaluate the patient and confirm that the patient has one of the qualifying conditions that would make him eligible. After this is done he would assign you a patient reference number and a physician statement, that would enable you to complete your application on the New Jersey MMP website.
New Jersey's medical cannabis program has seen remarkable growth under the leadership of Gov. Phil Murphy in the past year, he recently added chronic pain and anxiety as qualifying conditions to use medical cannabis. This new addition has led to a huge demand for medical cannabis, even more than the state anticipated. These two illnesses currently account for 52.7% of patients who are presently registering for the medical marijuana program, chronic pain (28.9%) and anxiety (23.8%). The state has called for six more suppliers to handle the huge demand. At this rate, the cannabis market would be needing 15 more sites in the next three years.
The New Jersey medical cannabis market before Gov Phil signed the legislation for expansion on the 2nd of July 2019 had 40,000 patients. From the time of that bill passage till now the New Jersey medical cannabis program has grown to a huge 63,000 patients. This number is expected to triple in the next three years to 180,000.
Impact Of The New Bill
This new law is known as the Jake Honing Compassionate Use Act and has brought about changes that include, an increase in the dispensable limit of cannabis from 2 ounces to 3 ounces after the first 18 months of its passage, which can then be subject to a commission's ratification. It increases the supply a patient gets from 90 days to 1 year and allows home delivery. The law also reduces the threshold from debilitating illness to qualifying illness thus enabling physicians to prescribe it more. The illnesses include seizure, chronic pain, PTSD, glaucoma and also leaves room open for more addition based on physician's discretion.
This law also now permits physician's assistants and nurses to prescribe it against what held previously where only doctors could prescribe. This law also permitted the setting up of three new licenses; cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries, years ago there was only one and that is for alternative treatment centers as a whole. The state is also in the process of increasing its alternative treatment centers from 6 to 12, wherein the long-term goal is to have 24 alternative treatment centers, eight in the northern region of the state, eight in the central, seven in the south and one at large, as well as increasing the number of cultivators to 12.
During the past year, there has also been a doubling of physicians, from 500 to 1000 physicians as well as steadily adding about 500 patients each week. The state is currently at its breaking point because of these numbers and needs to quickly grow the industry by introducing more suppliers, creating more alternative treatment centers hiring more physicians and more to which it is currently doing to handle this huge demand.
With these numbers, the New Jersey medical cannabis Industry is ready to rival the biggest players from the west coast and be positioned to be one of America's biggest cannabis market.