The NJ medical marijuana program that was put in place several years ago could soon be subject to major changes, depending on whether the New Jersey Health Department decides to allow additional medical conditions to qualify for treatment. Throughout August 2016, anyone who has suggestions for possible new additions to the list of medical conditions that officially qualify a patient for medical pot should go to the New Jersey Department of Health website and download a form. The form can be filled out and submitted to state health officials via certified mail.
A medical review panel has been formed, with the panel’s purpose being to evaluate the medical conditions that are suggested by NJ residents. After considering the suggested medical conditions, the panel will provide recommendations to the NJ Department of Health about the official medical marijuana policy in New Jersey. If state health officials decide to change the medical marijuana law on the basis of public input, it would mark the first such instance of public input affecting the medical pot program since it was launched in 2010.
Chronic Health Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana Treatment in Essex County, New Jersey
Anyone thinking about using marijuana, whether for medicinal purposes or otherwise, should be aware that the drug possession laws in NJ are stringent. New Jersey police officers, prosecutors, and judges are extremely strict when it comes to enforcement of these drug crime laws. If you are caught illegally possessing or distributing marijuana, you will face severe penalties that include jail time.
There is an exception to the prohibitions against marijuana possession and marijuana distribution in New Jersey. Certain individuals who suffer from qualifying chronic health conditions can avoid being prosecuted if they are using the marijuana to treat their illness.
However, not every medical condition is considered a “qualifying” condition for the purposes of the NJ medical marijuana program. For example, someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not able to participate in the New Jersey medical pot program, despite the efforts of several lawmakers in Trenton NJ to get PTSD added to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
The qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana treatment in New Jersey include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Terminal cancer
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease)
- Any other terminal illness
In addition to this list, patients who suffer from seizure disorders or glaucoma may be eligible for medical marijuana treatment if their condition is not improving due to conventional treatment. Additionally, people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS may qualify for the NJ medical marijuana program if their current treatment plan isn’t working and has led to severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, or vomiting.
NJ.com researched the New Jersey medical marijuana program and found that 8,162 patients and 472 caregivers are already registered with the state. A person can become an official caregiver by passing a state background check. Once the person qualifies as a caregiver, they are authorized to pick up marijuana from registered medical pot dispensaries and then transport the marijuana to patients’ residences.
A caregiver must be officially licensed by the State of New Jersey. A person functioning as a caregiver but without official authorization from the state is acting in violation of the law and could be criminally charged with simple possession of marijuana or marijuana distribution. Depending on the circumstances of the drug offense, a marijuana possession or marijuana distribution charge could lead to serious penalties that include incarceration in NJ State Prison.
There are currently five medical marijuana dispensaries in NJ, including Bellmawr, Cranbury, Egg Harbor, Montclair, and Woodbridge. The state has already approved a sixth medical marijuana facility that will open in Secaucus later this year.