NJ Will Soon See Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program
In an effort to make good on a campaign promise, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has announced plans to expand medical marijuana access in the Garden State. Murphy, who took office mere weeks ago, made cannabis legalization one of the main platforms of his gubernatorial campaign. On Tuesday, Gov. Murphy signed an executive order meant to ease medical marijuana restrictions.
The plan calls for the New Jersey Department of Health to conduct a 60-day study of the state’s medical marijuana program with a focus on how to increase access to it. The review will seek to lift restrictions on doctors in the state who prescribe the drug, review the number of conditions for which the drug can be prescribed, consider the possibility of offering edible marijuana products, and allow more dispensaries to open in the state.
Gov. Murphy Blames Christie For Medical Marijuana Failures
New Jersey legalized medical cannabis in 2010, but since then only 15,000 people have enrolled, due to high costs and lack of dispensaries (there are currently only five in the entire state). Murphy pointed to his predecessor, Republican Governor Chris Christie, as one of the main reasons the state’s medical marijuana program was doing so poorly.
“The system we have inherited can best be described as medical marijuana in name only,” Gov. Murphy said during an event in Trenton. “With a hostile administration tugging the strings of state bureaucracy, the ability of dispensaries to open has been slow-footed. Doctors have faced stigmatization for participating. And non-smokable and edible products that could benefit patients have been blocked from the market.”
One of Murphy’s main campaign platforms was the legalization of cannabis. Since taking office, the Democratic governor has received some pushback on the subject from a number of state legislators. So while adult-use cannabis may have to wait, the effort to increase medical access is still welcome news to advocates.