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New Jersey Medical Marijuana Laws & Regulations
New Jersey lawmakers approved Senate Bill 119 on January 11, 2010 by a vote of 48-14 in the state House and 25-13 in the state Senate; it was signed into law by then-Governor Jon Corzine on January 18, 2010. While the law was to become effective six months after enactment, the subsequent governor, Chris Christie, delayed the program for review and the writing of regulations. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued draft rules October 6, 2010. Following a public hearing in December 2010, the lead sponsor of the bill submitted a Senate resolution declaring the rules were “inconsistent with legislative intent.” In February 2011, DHSS issued new draft rules that included changes to the licensing process for cultivators and distributors, prohibited home delivery of medicine to patients, and required a recommending physician to certify that a patient’s qualifying condition is “resistant to conventional medical therapy."
New Jersey residents registered with the Department of Health and Senior Services’ 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.
MMP began accepting patient registrations on August 9, 2012, and the first licensed dispensary in the state received a permit in October 2012 and began serving patients December 6, 2012. As of November 2016 there are five operational ATCs with one more pending.
In May 2013, Senate Bill 2842 was introduced and then amended in August 2013 at the request of Gov. Christie, The bill would prohibit limitation on the number of strains of medical cannabis that can be cultivated and expand the available means of packaging and distribution to allow the manufacture of edible cannabis products for distribution solely to minors. The bill also mandates criminal history record background checks and fingerprinting for applicants seeking permits to operate alternative treatment centers but allows applicants with criminal convictions to show evidence of rehabilitation.
The New Jersey Department of Health established the regulations for the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”). These rules were adopted on November 23, 2011 by Mary E. O’Dowd, MPH, Commissioner, Department of Health and Senior Services. They are set to expire on December 19, 2018.
On November 9 of 2015, A4587 was signed into law. This bill requires that schools and some facilities for the disabled develop policies for the administration of medical marijuana on their grounds. This should reduce the interruption of medication on a student's educational day.
On September 14, 2016, AB 457 was signed into law. This bill expands CUMMA to include post-traumatic stress disorder as a debilitating condition for which medical marijuana may be authorized.