The New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program Review Panel on Thursday made initial recommendations to the Health Commissioner to approve chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, anxiety, chronic fatigue related to ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, Tourette syndrome as qualifying conditions for the medical marijuana program.
“We are glad to see that the panel took the testimony of experts and the petitions of New Jerseyans seriously in making their recommendation to add chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana,” said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
“Many people across the state will be helped by this decision. And it comes at a particularly important moment. Data shows that states with medical marijuana programs that allow access for individuals with chronic pain have reduced dependence on opioids. As New Jersey continues dealing with problematic opioid use in our state, expanding the medical marijuana program to include chronic pain is a real solution that can be immediately implemented,” Scotti added.
The panel’s initial recommendations are now open for a 60-day comment period and will be addressed at a public hearing before being finalized and sent to the Health Commissioner who will make the final determination on petitions to add new conditions to the state’s medical marijuana program.
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The New Jersey Policy Office of the Drug Policy Alliance successfully led a campaign in partnership with medical and professional organizations as well as patient advocates to pass the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in 2010. The coalition has been advocating for improvements to the state’s program since implementation. The Drug Policy Alliance submitted a petition in support of adding chronic pain, collected letters of support from clinicians and New Jerseyans suffering from the condition, and organized expert testimony before the Review Panel at their February meeting.