New Jersey Governor Doubles Dispensaries and Expands Qualifying Conditions

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has doubled dispensaries, expanded qualifying conditions and said he favors expungement.
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The most densely populated U.S. state will soon have as many as 12 dispensaries, according to a statement released Monday from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s office.

“We look forward to the opening of six new dispensaries so we can ensure that all qualifying patients who want access to medicinal marijuana can have it,” said Governor Murphy.

Speaking on a local New York radio program “Ask Governor Murphy,” the Democratic governor said he favored expunging criminal records for marijuana possession if the state legalizes recreational pot.

“You can’t incarcerate somebody who did something on Friday and allow somebody who did it on Monday to do it legally.  That doesn’t work for me. Frankly it doesn’t work for most folks who look at this. It’s got to be a part of it,” Murphy said Monday July 16 on WNYC.

Of New Jersey’s 25,000 registered MMJ patients, 10,000 have enrolled since January, when Murphy’s term began. More than half of the new participants have the conditions that New Jersey started to include this past March: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, and pain related to arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, pancreatitis and bowel disease.

Besides adding new qualifying illnesses, Murphy changed the program last March by cutting registration and renewal fees from $200 to $100 every two years, with veterans and senior citizens getting an additional $20 discounted fee.

The governor is also allowing doctors who recommend MMJ not to appear on a public registry. Murphy said there was a sense that doctors involved with medical cannabis may face a stigma.

Applications will be accepted electronically until Aug. 7. Those chosen to proceed will be announced Nov. 1, according to the governor’s administration.

Murphy campaigned on broadening marijuana access. Though he had intended to legalize recreational weed by the start of the July 1 fiscal year, lawmakers continue to work on a bill to send to his desk.

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