Peter Kelly writes:
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing the New Jersey Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the state’s existing medical marijuana program with a focus on ways to expand access to marijuana for medical purposes. The review will include:
- An evaluation of the current rules regulating operating and siting of dispensaries and cultivation facilities with particular focus on whether relaxation of rules should be revised to remove obstructions to expansion;
- A review of the current process for obtaining a license to operate, including recommendations to expedite the process;
- An examination of conditions for participating physicians to ensure such requirements are not onerous;
- An analysis of the current list of debilitating conditions for which use my be authorized and a recommendation as to whether doctors should be given flexibility to make such determination on their own;
- An assessment of the methods through which patients obtain medical marijuana and whether rules should be amended to approve additional methods to facilitate patient access;
- A review of regulations governing the forms in which medical marijuana can be ingested; and
- Any other aspect of the program that hinders or fails to effectively achieve the statutory objective of ensuring safe access to medical marijuana for patients in need.
The Executive Order mandates that the DOH and BME complete the review within 60 days and requires that the review’s findings be submitted along with recommendations for new rules and regulations or for the elimination of existing ones.
According to Governor Murphy, the goal of the review is to eliminate barriers to access for patients who suffer from illnesses that could be treated with medical marijuana. The state’s current program limits prescriptions to only those who have certain state-approved conditions and the more than 15,000 enrollees have access to only five dispensaries in the state.
You can find Executive Order #6 at the New Jersey state government website.
Peter F. Kelly is a partner in the firm’s Corporate Department and Cannabis Law Practice, resident in its Princeton, NJ, office.