New Jersey MMJ was legalized in 2010. But demand is now surpassing supply in the state. Significant changes in the medical marijuana laws in New Jersey have had a major impact on dispensaries. An overwhelming number of new patients have signed up and stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. But why the sudden sign-up rush? Earlier this year, the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, worked to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Murphy wanted patients to have greater access to marijuana. The measure passed in March of this year.

New Jersey MMJ is Changing

The biggest change to the medical marijuana law was in qualifying conditions. New Jersey had previously established a specific list of conditions that would qualify for a medical marijuana patient card. The new qualifying conditions have considerably fewer limits now (e.g. cancer and epilepsy qualify as do anxiety, chronic pain, migraines and Tourette’s syndrome).

Additionally, doctors can recommend cannabis without first enrolling in a public registry. But a problem has arisen with more patients and easier prescribing: People are taking advantage of the greater accessibility and there is not enough cannabis to go around. Not every New Jersey MMJ dispensary is empty, but patients are finding themselves waiting in long dispensary lines in many cities.

But Can’t New Jersey Just Grow More Medical Marijuana?

So, why can’t New Jersey MMJ dispensaries and suppliers keep up with the demand? There simply is not enough product to go around. Even before the restrictions were listed, around 100 MMJ patients were joining the program every day. The program now boasts over 20,000 patients. New Jersey hopes that by expanding its production infrastructure, the market will be able to make some headway into meeting patient demand. More growers should help offset the diminished supply.

Even More Regulation Change Could Come

Sen. Joseph Vitale, of New Jersey, wants even more changes in the state’s medical marijuana program. His proposed bill, not yet released, would add or alter the following in the current law:

  • Add more qualifying conditions for patients
  • Increase purchase amount allowed to span 30 days
  • Implement employment protections
  • Allow purchases from any dispensary – regardless of specific dispensary registration
  • Allow possession of medical marijuana in New Jersey if an out-of-state patient, but without allowing new purchases within the state
  • Permit dispensaries to establish medical advisory boards
  • Allow health department to issue more permits if demand is not being met

Stay tuned for updates regarding Vitale’s proposed bill.

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