Medical marijuana in New Jersey has been available for several years, but critics say the restrictions on patients are much more burdensome than in other states. Patients must be reassessed every 90 days in order to remain eligible, and medical cannabis prices are substantially higher than in many other states, making it nearly impossible for many patients to afford it.
On January 11, 2010, Senate Bill 119 was approved by the House 48-14 and the Senate 25-13, and was effectively signed into law by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine on January 18, 2010 (effective six months from enactment).
Senate Bill 119 legally protects “patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes, from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties”.
In addition, SB 119 also provides for the creation of alternative treatment centers, “at least two each in the northern, central, and southern regions of the state. The first two centers issued a permit in each region shall be nonprofit entities, and centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities”.
On September 10, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed into law. Senate Bill 2842, amended the law, following legislative adoption of his conditional veto. SB 2842 allows qualifying minors, with approval from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, may use edible forms of marijuana.
Six months after it was enacted, S119 was expected to become effective, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, DHHS, and the legislature were unable to come to an agreement on the details of how the program should be run.
On October 06, 2010, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, released draft rules outlining the application and registration process. On December 06, 2010, a public hearing was held at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, reported the New Jersey Register.
On December 20, 2011, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 140 was submitted by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D), the lead sponsor of the medical marijuana bill. SCR 140 declared that the “Board of Medical Examiners proposed medicinal marijuana program rules are inconsistent with legislative intent”. On January 20, 2010, the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee, held a public hearing to debate SCR 140, and its similar counterpart, SCR 130.
On February 03, 2011, the Department of Health released the proposed new rules that plan to streamline the permit process for cultivating and dispensing medical cannabis and prohibit home delivery by alternative treatment centers. In addition, the rule requires that “conditions originally named in the Act be resistant to conventional medical therapy in order to qualify as debilitating medical conditions”.
On August 09, 2012 the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program’s website opened the patient registration system. Patients are required to have a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, a government-issued ID, and proof of New Jersey residency to register. The first of the appointed alternative care center’s is expected to open in September.
On October 16, 2012, the Green Leaf Compassion Center became the first dispensary to receive a permit from the Department of Health, allow it to legally open, operate and dispense marijuana, as an “Alternative Treatment Center”. On December 06, 2012, the location became the first center to open to patients.
In February 2017 and May 2017, hearings were held to increase New Jersey’s medical marijuana to include additional conditions based on petitions from doctors and patients. Further, in October 2017, a state Appellate Court ruled that the former director of the Division of Consumer Affairs could reclassify marijuana so that it would no longer be considered a “schedule 1” drug, citing its abundant medical value. This could mean an expansion of the current medical marijuana program in New Jersey, which currently limits the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
In September 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made the first steps towards legalizing adult-use marijuana by waiving an existing Christie-era rule that prevented medical marijuana providers from selling cannabis concentrate vape cartridges. Previously, medical marijuana providers were allowed to sell cannabis flower, topical oils, and oral lozenges only.
In March 2018, New Jersey significantly expanded its medical marijuana program. It added five new qualifying conditions:
The state also expanded the program to include alternative treatment centers. It also reduced the limitation on doctors, making it easier for physicians to more discretely recommend medical marijuana for patients. Now patients can also sign up for the program for just $100, whereas previously it costs patients $200 every two years. These changes are expected to make it easier for patients in New Jersey to get the relief they need and deserve.
A petition was sent to the Department of Health to add opioid use disorders to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The DoH determined that opioid use disorder resulting from treatment of chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders would be approved. Musculoskeletal disorders included in this category are fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, complex regional pain syndrome, and more conditions outlined in the petition.
In October 2018, the state of New Jersey began allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to post prices on social media and websites. State officials say that medical marijuana dispensary operators can choose to either opt into posting their prices online and choose to what extent they want to make their pricing available to the public.
2018 Update: Lawmakers in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly budget committees passed a bill on November 26th, 2018 that would legalize recreational marijuana. This approval will allow the bill to move forward in the Senate and Assembly, so legal cannabis provisions may be coming as soon as next year. The proposed bill would legalize the personal use and possession of less than one ounce of cannabis.
2017 Election Update: Goods news for medical marijuana patients in New Jersey! Governor-Elect Phil Murphy has been outspoken in his support for a recreational legalization bill advocates are readying in state legislature.
Note from State, on sources for medical marijuana: New Jersey patients are NOT allowed to cultivate their own medical marijuana. The New Jersey DOH announced the locations for six nonprofit alternative treatment centers (ATCs), on March 21, 2011, from which the patient may obtain their medical marijuana. Five of the proposed cannabis collectives were operational by March 01, 2016.
The New Jersey Patient Registry fee is $100 and is valid for two years, for patients qualifying for state or federal assistance programs, the fee is reduced to $20 — Medicaid does NOT cover medical marijuana. The New Jersey Marijuana Registry is mandatory and does NOT accept other state’s registry cards.
In the state of New Jersey, physicians determine how much medical marijuana a patient needs, and provides written instructions to be presented to the alternative treatment center, i.e. medical marijuana dispensary. The state imposed limit of medical marijuana, for a 30-day period, is maximum two ounces. Home cultivation is not permitted.
Qualified patients in New Jersey may choose to see a marijuana doctor online instead of in-person, using the telemedicine portal, provided that a medical marijuana telemedicine doctor first established a bonafide relationship with the patient in-person, after which all follow-up visits may be conducted via medical marijuana telemedicine services, online
Updated on January 8, 2019
The State of New Jersey has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued New Jersey Medical Marijuana Card, permitting the patient to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per New Jersey state guidelines.
Since the New Jersey medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new New Hampshire medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the New Jersey medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following New Jersey medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of New Jersey’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in New Jersey.
Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of New Hampshire’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states.”