The ambitious medical marijuana program instituted in New Jersey several years ago may soon be undergoing a major expansion as the NJ Health Department is reportedly considering whether to allow additional medical conditions to qualify for medical pot. Between August 1 and August 31, 2016, anyone with suggestions for new additions to the list of medical conditions that would qualify a patient for medical marijuana should visit the NJ Department of Health website and download an official form. The form can be printed and then submitted to the New Jersey Health Department via certified mail.
A medical review panel will evaluate the medical conditions suggested by NJ residents and then offer recommendations to the Department of Health at a later date. Depending on what the panel ultimately ends up recommending, the state medical marijuana law could be altered based on public input for the first time since 2010, when the State of New Jersey initially launched the medical pot program.
Patients Suffering from Chronic Health Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Essex County, NJ
It is important for anyone using pot to make sure they fully understand the drug crime laws in New Jersey. That’s because NJ law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges are strict when it comes to enforcing these laws. A person who is caught possessing or distributing marijuana illegally could be looking at time in jail.
The NJ medical marijuana law does provide an exception to the drug offense laws: a person suffering from a qualifying chronic health condition can avoid legal punishment so long as they possess, and use, marijuana to treat their illness or medical condition.
Not every medical condition qualifies a person for medical marijuana in New Jersey. For instance, a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not allowed to participate in the NJ medical pot program. However, there are a number of lawmakers in Trenton NJ who have attempted to get PTSD added to the list of qualifying conditions.
As far as medical conditions that currently qualify a person to be legally treated with medical marijuana in NJ, the following conditions are on the state’s official list:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease)
- Any other terminal illness
Additionally, if a patient is suffering from a seizure disorder or glaucoma, and their condition is not getting better as a result of conventional treatment, they may be able to qualify for the medical marijuana program in NJ. Moreover, a person who has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS might also qualify for the New Jersey medical pot program if their treatment plan is simply ineffective and is leading to severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, or vomiting by the patient.
NJ.com recently researched the state’s medical marijuana program and found that 8,162 patients and 472 caregivers are currently registered with New Jersey. In order to become an official caregiver, a person must pass an official NJ state background check. At that point, the caregiver will be legally authorized to pick up marijuana from registered medical marijuana dispensaries and then drop off the pot at patients’ homes.
A caregiver who has not been licensed and approved by the State of New Jersey is violating the law and could find themselves criminally charged with simple possession of marijuana or distribution of marijuana. Depending on the circumstances, a marijuana possession or distribution charge could result in a lengthy term of incarceration in NJ State Prison.
At present, there are just five official medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey. Those dispensaries are located in Bellmawr, Cranbury, Egg Harbor, Montclair, and Woodbridge. A sixth medical marijuana facility is set to open in Secaucus NJ later in 2016.