Another state is poised to jump on the recreational use of marijuana bandwagon, and if Senate Bills 2702 and 2703, introduced by New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari are passed, the Garden State will join the likes of Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, all having legalized medical and adult use marijuana.
If the legislation passes, it would allow consumers over the age of twenty-one to obtain and use up to one ounce of marijuana. These bills would also create a new “Division of Marijuana and Enforcement” that would regulate the process of businesses acquiring a dispensary license. Rising taxes over the course of four years will fund the regulation and enforcement efforts of the proposed state agency outlined in bills S2702 and S2703.
More Medical Marijuana, Please
Specifically, Senate Bill 2703 will allow more people to get a doctor-ordered prescription for marijuana than ever before in Jersey. Prior to March 2018, only people with certain debilitating medical conditions could obtain a medical recommendation for marijuana; those conditions included terminal cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease and some severe, chronic pain conditions.
However, in March of this year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy extended the list of medical conditions qualifying for a marijuana recommendation to anxiety, migraine headaches, Tourette’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions due to musculoskeletal disorders.
More patients in New Jersey now have access to medical marijuana, and as such, there’s been a huge increase in the number of people taking advantage of this “wonder drug.” Over 100 patients are being added every day to the list of qualifying patients in the Garden State, and there are now over 25,000 participants in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.
Changes to Existing Marijuana Regulations
S2702 also means changes to existing medical marijuana regulations related to the administration of medical marijuana. The bill would establish requirements for “institutional caregivers” and healthcare professionals to administer medical marijuana to ill patients who fit criteria for medical marijuana administration.
As the law stands now, only people with a prescription for medical marijuana can administer the drug to themselves, but S2702 would change that. Institutional caregivers, with S2702, would be those over the age of 18:
- With no convictions of purchasing or selling illegal drugs
- An employee of a health care industry or organization authorized to administer “controlled dangerous substances in connection with the care and treatment of patients and residents pursuant to applicable State and federal laws”
- Authorized to assist patients or residents with medical marijuana
- Registered with the Division of Marijuana and Enforcement once it’s created
A “Cannabis Committee” has already been created by the New Jersey State Bar Association for these proposed regulations, and the committee has already started holding seminars and analyzing the legal issues regarding cannabis. The Cannabis Committee will continue to work through issues related to the proposed changes to New Jersey state law as legislations continues to be introduced in the state.