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New Jersey CRC Responds to Feedback for Medical Cannabis Program

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

February 6, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
New Jersey CRC Responds to Feedback for Medical Cannabis Program

After nearly two years of success with recreational cannabis, New Jersey lawmakers are hoping to make some positive changes to cannabis laws in the state. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, also known as the CRC, has asked the public for their thoughts and feedback regarding new proposals. These new proposals are designed to expand access to medical cannabis for New Jersey MMJ patients. In short, the new proposals would set up partnerships between research institutions and cannabis dispensaries in the state.

New Jersey Lawmakers Proposal for Positive Cannabis Reform

New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy stated in an Executive Order, “…of New Jersey’s nine million residents, only approximately 15,000 are able to participate in the State’s medical marijuana program.” Other states with comparable populations, like Arizona and Michigan, have 10 to nearly 20 times the number of medical cannabis patients.

The low number of patients quoted by the governor is puzzling, considering that New Jersey’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis is extensive. Additionally, the New Jersey government reports currently state that there are about 90,000 medical patients in the state. Is this discrepancy merely a mistake? While it’s hard to know for sure, one thing is certain–there are plenty of people eligible for medical marijuana in New Jersey who do not currently hold a card.

Current List of Qualifying Conditions for a NJ Medical Marijuana Card:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Including Crohn’s Disease
  • Intractable Skeletal Muscular Spasticity
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • Positive Status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) And Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure Disorder, Including Epilepsy
  • Terminal Illness with /A Prognosis Of Less Than 12 Months To Live
  • Tourette Syndrome

Given the contradictory nature of these numbers, the New Jersey CRC is proposing changes–and they want to know how these changes will be received by state residents.

New Proposals by the New Jersey CRC

In response to its declining medical cannabis network, The New Jersey CRC solicited public input on proposed rules to broaden ingestible cannabis product options, aiming to ensure safety and quality while enhancing accessibility. The CRC unveiled proposed regulations in September 2023 that will expand allowable forms of ingestible cannabis products in both medical and recreational markets to include cannabis-infused beverages, baked goods, candies, gummies, butter, jams, jellies, and chocolates.

The public comment period was open from October 16 to December 15, 2023. The CRC has not yet released the results of this survey. However, they have recently announced some new perks for medical marijuana cardholders.

The proposed rules would effectively establish a ‘clinical registrant permit.’ A clinical registrant permit would permit cannabis dispensaries to grow, process, and sell medical cannabis. Cannabis dispensaries with a clinical registrant permit would also have to participate in clinical research with the medical cannabis and medical cannabis products they provide. Wait, there’s still more. Cannabis dispensaries with a clinical registrant permit that partake in clinical research would do so “using qualifying patients who consent to be part of such research.”

The Clinical Registrant Proposal states, “A clinical registrant may dispense usable medical cannabis and medical cannabis products, in any form authorized by an institutional review board (IRB), directly to an academic medical center as part of a research study. An academic medical center that handles medical cannabis items shall do so in a manner consistent with the academic medical center’s standards used for the handling, storage, and disposal of other patient medications.”

Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits

  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
  • Enhanced legal protection
  • Access to higher potency strains
  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary

The CRC believes this will help boost the state’s medical cannabis program. According to the CRC, “The Commission expects the State to generate tax revenues on the retail sales of medical cannabis items purchased at clinical registrant dispensaries.”

Medical and Recreational Cannabis Prices and Availability in New Jersey

So why don’t more patients access cannabis in the state? As you may suspect, the price of cannabis is part of the problem. According to the Inquirer, “Prices vary, but many eighth-ounces — that’s 3.5 grams — of legally purchased pot in New Jersey go for about $60 before taxes. That’s about $17 a gram, with few discounts for purchasing larger amounts. An ounce runs about $455.”

According to Asbury Park Press, “In the Garden State, an eighth-ounce of legally purchased cannabis costs as much as $60 — $65 after tax — at the 24 dispensaries currently open for ‘adult use.’ That’s $520 an ounce.”

Nevertheless, medical cannabis patients still save more than their adult use counterparts. With purchase limits that are three times greater than recreational limits and exemption from the 6.625% excise tax on every cannabis purchase, obtaining a New Jersey medical marijuana card is an efficient way to circumvent high cannabis prices and ensure you’re purchasing high-quality, safely tested products.

To entice more people to sign up, the CRC also recently waived signup and renewal fees for people who receive virtual cards. These cards can be presented at dispensaries on a cell phone, removing the risk of potentially losing or damaging your card. For people who would like a physical copy, the fee is set to a low $10 with another $10 renewal fee every two years.

Other perks for medical cardholders in the state include access to strains and products not available recreationally and special extended dispensary hours for medical patients.

These changes appear to be in direct response to the survey done last fall, so the CRC is clearly listening to patients and working to improve the program. Getting a medical marijuana card remains the best way to purchase cannabis products within the state. For now, though, only time will tell how the proposed changes by the New Jersey CRC will impact medical cannabis numbers.

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