Gov. Murphy orders review of state’s medical marijuana program

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order directing the state Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the existing medical marijuana program.
His goal is to eliminate barriers to access for patients who suffer from illnesses that could be treated with medical marijuana. Seeing as patients can now order marijuana online (if it is legal in your state), having access to medical marijuana is fine for some. But making it available to all patients is where we want to law to finally come to one day.

The current law limits marijuana prescriptions to those who have certain state-approved conditions. A relaxation of the law could result in New Jersey following the lead of Canada, where it is possible to buy marijuana online.
“We need to treat our residents with compassion,” Murphy said. “We cannot turn a deaf ear to our veterans, the families of children facing terminal illness, or to any of the other countless New Jerseyans who only wish to be treated like people, and not criminals. And, doctors deserve the ability to provide their patients with access to medical marijuana free of stigmatization.”
There are currently more than 15,000 residents enrolled in the program, with only five dispensaries operating in the state, including one in Egg Harbor Township.
The order gives the two entities 60 days to review the state’s program. The findings will have to be submitted along with recommendations for new rules and regulations – or for the elimination of existing ones.
Murphy also wants to eliminate the stigma doctors feel when prescribing medical marijuana. This stigma has already dissipated in states like Ohio, which is reflected by the ever-growing Ohio dispensary list.
That issue is exacerbated by state law requiring medical professionals to publicly register in order to become certified prescribers of medicinal marijuana. Thirty doctors in Atlantic County are registered to prescribe marijuana.
“Many aspects of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program are written in statute,” Murphy said. “But our law is eight years old. Since it took effect, significant medical research has been conducted. Our goal is to modernize the program in New Jersey, bring it up to current standards, and put patients first.”
The current law was approved by the Legislature and enacted in January 2010.
Murphy said he remains committed to working with the New Jersey Legislature to pass comprehensive marijuana reform.