On June 18, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health (the “DOH”) published for comment its proposed amendments to the administrative regulations to New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program (“MMP”).  These regulations establish the standards by which the DOH implements the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, codified at N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 et. seq.

The proposed regulatory amendments are a follow up to Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 6 that charged the DOH with reviewing the MMP to identify ways to expand access to marijuana for medical purposes.

The DOH’s proposed amendments include:

  • Reducing the registration fee for qualifying patients and their caregivers from $200 to $100;
  • Adding senior citizens and military veterans to those eligible for the reduced registration fee of $20;
  • Authorizing qualifying patients to designate up to two primary caregivers instead of only one;
  • Reflecting the addition of six qualifying debilitating medical conditions: PTSD, by statutory enactment; and five new conditions (anxiety, chronic pain of visceral origin, chronic pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, and Tourette syndrome), by the State Health Commissioner’s March 22, 2018, petition decision;
  • Streamlining the petition process for the addition of qualifying debilitating medical conditions by removing the requirement that petitions must first be referred to the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel;
  • Emphasizing the advisory role of the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel to include the provision of guidance and recommendations to the State Health Commissioner regarding the use of marijuana for medical purposes;
  • Allowing physicians to opt out of inclusion on the public list of physicians participating in the MMP;
  • Removing the requirement of psychiatric evaluation as a condition of physician certification of minors as qualifying patients;
  • Creating an endorsement system for cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing marijuana for medicinal purposes;
  • Authorizing the manufacturing and dispensing of medicinal marijuana in non-topical formulations;
  • Repealing the three-strain limit on authorized cultivation and dispensary activity;
  • Elevating the MMP to division status within the Department of Health;
  • Establishing an application process by which the six current alternative treatment centers can apply for satellite locations; and
  • Identifying the DOH’s criteria for evaluating applications for additional alternative treatment centers.

Interested parties have until August 17, 2018 to submit written comments to the DOH.  An unofficial copy of the DOH’s proposed amendments is available on the department’s website here.