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Medical marijuana program up to 34,000 patients

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According to the NJ Department of Health, the state medical marijuana program has doubled under Gov. Murphy.
According to the NJ Department of Health, the state medical marijuana program has doubled under Gov. Murphy. - ()

The state medical marijuana program has doubled under Gov. Murphy, according to the Department of Health on Monday.

A series of reforms have reduced the wait time for patient ID cards by half, including the addition of 300 doctors to the program. Additionally, caregivers for terminally ill patients are now allowed provisional eligibility cards while waiting for background checks; and dispensaries are now able to post prices, so patients can comparison shop.

“New Jersey’s program has made incredible strides in expanding access and becoming a compassionate, consumer-friendly service for patients by adding physicians and new medical conditions and seeking applications for another six dispensaries,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a prepared statement.

The 34,000 patients, 1,345 caregivers and 800 physicians participating in the program are serviced by six Alternative Treatment Centers located in Montclair, Woodbridge, Cranbury, Bellmawr, Egg Harbor Township and Secaucus.

The majority of the 17,000 patients who have signed up sign January have one of five medical conditions added to the program in March, including anxiety, migraines, two forms of chronic pain and Tourette’s Syndrome.

“Over the past three months alone, the program has added 9,000 patients,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a prepared statement. “Physicians should consider marijuana as another appropriate treatment for patients with many medical conditions, especially diseases for which conventional therapies aren’t working for their patients.”

The Department is reportedly exploring the addition of opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition. Opioids will likely cause 3,000 deaths in New Jersey this year, but currently, opioid use disorder must be associated with chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders in order to qualify for the medical marijuana program.

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Gabrielle Saulsbery

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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