New Jersey Improves Medical Cannabis Program Amid Coronavirus

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While the majority of the world is easing restrictions that were put in place for the Coronavirus, The United States continues to struggle. Thankfully, some states have taken a precaution or two in order to conquer this pandemic. One of those states, especially with cannabis, is New Jersey. The state has announced a handful of provisions in the past two months that have greatly increased the safety and accessibility for patients.

Virtual Recommendations

New Jersians are only a few months away from voting on the legalization of cannabis. The state legalized medical cannabis back in 2010 but has struggled to completely legalize the drug since then. Thankfully, the state is taking steps to protect the customers of medical cannabis. Most recently, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D) announced the immediate ability to receive a medical cannabis recommendation via Telehealth.

“Today, we are making it easier for patients to choose telehealth services for any reason, including to avoid an in-person visit due to the continuing risk of COVID-19,”  Grewal said in a press release.

This will allow more people the opportunity to receive a medical cannabis recommendation. Additionally, fewer people will be crowding doctor’s offices with this new provision. With Telehealth, patients will be able to communicate safely with trained professionals through telecommunication technologies.

“New Jersey healthcare practices are again offering in-person services, but telehealth remains an important option for patients and providers,” Grewal said. “Doctors who use telemedicine to prescribe CDS or authorize medical marijuana will be held to the same professional standards as for in-person visits and must comply with all of the important safeguards we have adopted to prevent diversion and misuse.”

Delivery Services

This isn’t the first time New Jersey has extended medical cannabis services among the pandemic. Last month, the New Jersey Department of Health allowed alternative treatment centers (ATCs) the ability to deliver to home addresses. Like the most recent measure, this is another way to limit crowds at medical dispensaries.

“The Department continues to prioritize patient access during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli in a press release. “This new waiver will allow ATCs, once they have submitted a plan to the Department for approval, to deliver across the state.”

Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the Jake Honig Act, expanding the access of medical cannabis to New Jersey’s patients. This is just one of many of those steps, and the first step in implementing the full home delivery provision.

The path to legalizing cannabis completely has been a long one for New Jersey. It’s been over a decade since the state has legalized medical cannabis, yet recreational use is still illegal. Thankfully for the residents, Governor Murphy is at least trying to make things easier for those who can have it. The next key step for New Jersey is to vote to legalize cannabis recreationally in November. The conversation has gone on for far too long, it’s time to let the people of New Jersey have their cannabis.

 

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