Phil Murphy took one look at New Jersey’s floundering medical marijuana program and made it a top priority. Now he’s done something about it and it’s substantial. Even though the Governor ran on legalization as much as expanding medical, this is an enormous step in the right direction for the Garden State.
Effective immediately, new qualifying conditions have been added to the list of ailments that can get you a New Jersey medical marijuana card. Of course, the prior list still stands, but, according to NJ.com, here are the new qualifiers: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s Syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and opioid use disorder) and chronic pain of “visceral origin,” (including pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and bowel dysfunction.)
There are currently fewer than 20,000 registered cannabis patients in New Jersey, but that has everything to do with former governor Chris Christie and his loathing of marijuana. No matter how tightly he held the strings, he still called medical marijuana a front for legalization and made it as difficult as possible for patients to register and then even access medical cannabis.
There is speculation that the number will double within a year, but I personally speculate that it will be even higher than that. With expanded access in the way of new dispensaries and new qualifying conditions bulking up the list, patients should be coming out of the woodwork to treat their ailments.
This is beyond a step — it directly helps people compassionately treat and beat their conditions, often without the help of toxic, addictive or downright deadly medications. Patients suffering from debilitating anxiety have an opportunity to quash their limitations with the right strain of cannabis and may even be able to wean off of the benzo class of drugs that can be so addictive and harmful.
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Now New Jerseyans wait with bated breath to see when full legalization will manifest. It’s more of an uphill battle, but it’s one of the reasons we elected Murphy and he seems to be doing his best by his constituents. Especially with this new, compassionate move to expand medical cannabis. The Garden State indeed.