New Jersey could be expanding its medical cannabis program as early as next week. According to NJ.com, the New Jersey Legislature is poised to vote on a major expansion of the current cannabis program. The measure already advanced out of two committees, and a vote could come as early as May 23.
If this measure goes through, it would create a regulatory commission that would oversee the medical cannabis industry, divorcing the program from the state’s Department of Health. It would also increase the number of medical cannabis providers.
This is exciting for New Jersey, given that its recent effort to legalize cannabis failed in the past. Although many were positive that this change would happen, it appears that the state is not quite ready for fully legal cannabis. While this is a major disappointment, residents are excited that an expanded version of the medical plan could soon be on its way.
The state’s medical cannabis program has already undergone a lot of growth. It has expanded to serve more than 46,000 patients, up roughly 30,000 registered patients from when Gov. Phil Murphy first took office in January 2018. There are still only six providers in the state, however, which presents a barrier to care for many patients. The governor attempted to double the size of the program last year, but no new licenses have been issued, and there are no new businesses. All the providers who were selected were still going through litigation.
There also have already been a lot of regulatory changes in New Jersey. Gov. Murphy recently made some official changes to cannabis rules and wants to expand the size of their current program some way or another to serve more patients. The Department of Health will soon be able to add more qualifying conditions for medical cannabis patients, as well as increase the amount of cannabis product that is currently available.