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New Jersey's medical cannabis program was one of the most limited in the nation when former Governor Chris Christie was in office, but things are rapidly improving now that he is gone.

Phil Murphy is now the Governor of New Jersey, and from a pure cannabis policy standpoint, he couldn't be more different than his predecessor.

Murphy campaigned on a pro-cannabis platform and after taking office has made cannabis reform a top priority of his administration.

New Jersey has not legalized cannabis for adult-use since Murphy took over as Governor, but New Jersey's medical cannabis program is already receiving some much-needed changes.

New Jersey's health commissioner says the state will double its medical cannabis patient count

In March Governor Phil Murphy announced big changes to New Jersey's medical cannabis program. The changes included:

  • Addition of more medical conditions
  • Lowered patient and caregiver fees
  • Allowing dispensaries to add satellite locations
  • Proposed legislative changes
  • Approved veterans and seniors to receive a discounted registration fee

As of this article posting New Jersey is estimated to have 20,000 medical cannabis patients. That number is expected to double in the near future due to the recent changes according to New Jersey's top doctor Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

"We do anticipate an expansion in the number of individuals who will receive the program, the therapy," Elnahal told a New Jersey Senate committee. "We anticipate at least 50,000 people."

To put New Jersey's patient count into perspective, Michigan has roughly 10% more people than New Jersey but has over 10 times the current medical cannabis patient count.

New Jersey Senate bill would expand New Jersey's medical cannabis industry

New Jersey's program is still in need of further improvements, but the steps that have already been taken by the Murphy administration are going to pave the way for a solid medical cannabis program compared to prior years.

With that being said, New Jersey's medical cannabis industry is going to need to expand to meet the rising demand from more patients entering the program.

Fortunately, help may be on the way via a bill that was introduced this week by a group of New Jersey senators.

The bill was introduced in reaction to Governor Murphy's call to expand access to medical cannabis. The bill would:

  • Allow more dispensaries to be licensed
  • Allow more cultivation centers to be licensed
  • Expand the list of individuals qualified to approve medical cannabis for patients

The bill combined with the recent changes announced by Governor Murphy would likely result in exponential growth for the program beyond the projection offered up by New Jersey's top doctor.

Full legalization remains elusive in New Jersey

When current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was a candidate he made it very clear that he wanted to see cannabis legalized for adult use as soon as possible.

After winning the election he reiterated his desire to see New Jersey join other states that have legalized cannabis, and continues to do so.

Yet, despite having such a passionate Governor, the effort to legalize cannabis in New Jersey remains an uphill battle.

That is why it is extremely important for residents of New Jersey to keep the pressure on their legislators and continue to urge them to get New Jersey on the right side of history.

Contact your lawmakers early and often and point out that 9 other states and Washington D.C. have already passed legalization measures with more on the way. Be polite and offer to provide more information upon request!


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Will New Jersey legalize cannabis by the end of 2019?

Will New Jersey legalize cannabis by the end of 2019?

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