Governor Murphy Signs Executive MMJ Order

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Summary of Phil Murphy’s Sixth Executive Order:

Read the executive order in full here.

The Department of Health and The Board of Medical Examiners will review all aspects of the current medical marijuana program. They will then make recommendations to revise the current rules and remove any obstructions. The intention of the review is to find ways to expand access to medical marijuana.

The review will conclude within 60 days (from January 23).  The order specifically mentions the following items; it also uses the language, “including but not limited to”:

  • Rules governing operations and locations of dispensaries & cultivation facilities.
  • Process of obtaining a dispensary license.
  • Conditions for physicians participating in the program.
  • List of qualifying conditions and “whether doctors should be given the flexibility to make these determinations on their own.”
  • Assessment of how patients obtain MMJ and ways to facilitate patient access.
  • Review of the methods of consumption, with the intent to add a variety of methods.
  • The order also adds” Any other aspect of the program within the
    Department or the Board’s discretion that hinders or fails to
    effectively achieve the statutory objective of ensuring safe access
    to medical marijuana for patients in need.”

 

 

NJ’s Governor Signs Executive Order to Expand NJ’s Medical Marijuana Law

At 11:00 am, on January 23, Governor Phil Murphy held a private press conference in Trenton, NJ where he signed an executive order dedicated to expanding NJ’s medical marijuana laws.

The executive order directs the Department of Health to review the current NJ medical marijuana program with the specific purpose of expanding patient access.  

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Governor Murphy signing the executive order. Photo courtesy of Aubrey Navarro-Conway.

To Be Completed Within 60 Days

The Governor stated, “the review will be completed within 60 Days and will end with proposed new rules and regulations.”

The Governor chided the “hostile administration” of the Christy era and reiterated his commitment to comprehensive marijuana reform. He said NJ’s MMP will be “modernized, compassionate, and put the needs of patients first.”

The Governor also briefly touched on the opiate crisis, saying cannabis is “far from the only weapon in the fight against the opiate crisis, but let there be no doubt it is a significant weapon.”

Elements The Executive Order Will Address:

Murphy briefly reviewed elements the executive order will address, adding that these are only “some of the elements” included.

  • Restricting dispensaries to one location
  • Streamlining the process for obtaining dispensary licenses
  • Reducing the burdensome continuing education requirements for physicians participating in the program
  • Eliminating the public listing of physicians participating in the program
  • Adding Additional Qualifying Conditions
  • Reducing restrictions on patient access for things like home delivery and adding the sale of edibles, concentrates, etc.

 

The governor also discussed the extremely restrictive 2 oz per month limit on cannabis flower, however, he stated patient limits may require legislative action to change.

What this means for NJ’s MMJ patients:

This doesn’t change anything for anyone today. However, it does mean NJ’s medical marijuana program is moving in the right direction. By March 23rd, we should have more information about how NJ’s medical marijuana program will be streamlined and expanded.

Why Didn’t They Approve The Proposed Conditions?

I’m thrilled that the program could open up to so many more patients in the next few months, however, I’m not sure what they’re waiting for.

There’s been a petition sitting on the NJ’s Health Commissioner’s desk since October (presented to the previous administration), that could expand access to the program to numerous other conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, and opiate use disorder.

It’s my understanding that with the wave of a pen, the Department of Health could add numerous conditions to the medical marijuana program.

Patients are dying from overdoses. What are they waiting for?

 

 

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