Becoming a Patient in New Jersey
Summary of the Law
New Jersey residents registered with the Department of Health and Senior Service’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) are protected from "arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties." Those protections extend to qualifying patients, their physicians, primary caregivers, and individuals licensed to cultivate and distribute medical cannabis. DHSS is to license six “alternative treatment centers” in the state, two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state.
Registered patients must obtain their medicine from an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) with which they are registered; patients may only purchase medicine from their registered ATC. The amount of cannabis a patient may obtain is to be indicated by the patient’s physician but may not exceed two (2) ounces in a 30-day period.
Qualifying conditions include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
- Muscular dystrophy
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life.
The following conditions apply if resistant to, or if the patient is intolerant to, conventional therapy:
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
The following conditions apply if severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia or wasting syndrome results from the condition or treatment thereof:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
To obtain a registration ID card, you must be certified as having a qualifying debilitating medical condition by a physician who has been approved by the MMP and has ongoing responsibility for your treatment of that condition. The fee for registration is $200 unless you are on a state of federal assistance program, in which case you may qualify for a reduced fee of $20.
Registration is valid for two (2) years, but physicians may certify your eligibility for only 30, 60 or 90 days. When the certification expires, you must have the physician recertify your treatment with the MMP.
Registry Card Changes
If there has been a change in your name, address, telephone number, physician, or primary caregiver, or if you want to change your registered Alternative Treatment Center, you must do so via the MMP website. If your MMP registry card is lost, damaged, or stolen, you must notify the MMP via their website within 24 hours; there is a $10 fee for a replacement card. To add a caregiver or change caregivers, you must notify the MMP through their website, and the caregiver must then complete the caregiver application and pay a $200 registration fee, or $20 if your caregiver is on a government assistance program that qualifies for a reduced fee.
Your physician must be registered with the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program to certify you as a qualifying patient. If your doctor is not registered with the program and does not want to register, you can find a registered physician on the MMP website, as outlined above.
New Jersey's medical cannabis laws protect patients and their primary caregivers from prosecution for cannabis law violations. By state law, a designated caregiver is allowed to possess, obtain, and provide cannabis for the patient. The caregiver is not allowed to use this cannabis for his or her personal use, nor provide this medicine to un-qualified patients. A caregiver must be at least 18 years of age and a New Jersey resident.
A caregiver can be designated by the patient at any time on the MMP website. Once the caregiver is designated, the caregiver must complete the MMP application form and agree to a criminal background check. Caregivers cannot have been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance unless it was a federal conviction for marijuana sale or possession that was authorized by New Jersey medical cannabis law.
Obtaining Cannabis for Qualified Patients
Qualified patients in New Jersey must obtain their medicine from the Alternative Treatment Center they selected when registering with the MMP. Registered patients may change ATC by notifying the MMP via the MMP website. If the patient is unable to travel to the ATC, the patient may designate a primary caregiver to obtain the medicine.
Generally, patients are forbidden to smoke cannabis in public areas, on school grounds, or in correctional, law enforcement, or recreational facilities. There is a legal exception that allows for pediatric patients who are students to use their medicine in school. However, only the parent or legal guardian may administer the medicine, making the protection rather limited in practice.
Patients under the age of 18 who suffer from a debilitating medical condition as defined by the MMP may register with the program provided they have a legal custodian assume responsibility as their caregiver until they are 18 years of age. Once a minor patient turns 18, he or she will need to re-register with the MMP as an adult.
Applications and supporting information is considered confidential and is not to be disclosed to anyone who is not an authorized employee of the department in the course of official duties or local or state law enforcement who have detained or arrested a registered patient or caregiver.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not require a governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider or health care service plan to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.
Out of State Patients
There are no legal protection for out of state patients in New Jersey.