Lawmakers Consider Expanding NJ’s Medical Marijuana Program

Assemblywoman Linda Stender

Assemblywoman Linda Stender

TRENTON – An Assembly panel today advanced legislation that would allow patients in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program to legally obtain and use medical marijuana grown in other jurisdictions.

“Our medical marijuana program is not functioning the way it should be and approved participants have not been able to get the medicine they need,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/ Union), who sponsored the bill. “In no way will this bill expand any of the requirements for participation. Instead, it will allow people who have been approved into the program within the existing limitations to access the strains that they need in the event of a lack of availability within our own program.”

The bill (A-4537) would allow state medical marijuana patients to possess and use, medical marijuana legally obtained from another jurisdiction. The bill would also permit qualifying out-of-State medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers to engage in any conduct related to medical marijuana permitted under New Jersey law. In both cases, the other jurisdiction’s medical marijuana law must be recognized by the Department of Health.

“As of now, approved participants have been unable to get the medicine they need. In the case of little Vivian Wilson, her family is contemplating moving so they can get her the strains she needs. These changes will allow approved participants to remain in New Jersey, close to their families, and still get the treatment they need,” added Stender.

For a patient or a caregiver to possess and for a patient to use medical marijuana obtained from another jurisdiction, the patient or caregiver must be authorized to obtain medical marijuana under both New Jersey law and the laws of the other jurisdiction.

The medical marijuana must be in a form and quantity that does not violate New Jersey law and the patient or caregiver must report the quantity of medical marijuana obtained to the patient’s alternative treatment center. A patient or caregiver who obtains medical marijuana from other jurisdictions would not be permitted to exceed the maximum amount of medical marijuana authorized for the patient in a 30-day period by the patient’s physician. The Department of Health would be permitted to revoke or deny renewal of the registration card of a patient or caregiver for a violation of these requirements.

For an out-of-state patient or caregiver to engage in conduct related to medical marijuana in New Jersey, the patient or caregiver must possess a valid medical marijuana certification from another jurisdiction and a valid driver’s license or other photographic identification issued by the other jurisdiction.

The bill would additionally provide that parents of a patient who is a minor may serve as the minor’s primary caregiver, and that a parent who is currently serving as a primary caregiver may concurrently serve as primary caregiver to any of their minor children who are a qualifying patient.

The bill was released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.

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