Medical Marijuana

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey

New Jersey has some of the tightest restrictions when it comes to obtaining a medical marijuana card. First, you must be at least 18 years old and be diagnosed by a physician with one of the state’s debilitating medical conditions as defined by its Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

These qualifying medical conditions include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), anxiety, cancer, chronic pain, dysmenorrhea, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s disease, intractable skeletal spasticity, migraine, multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy, opioid use disorder, HIV+/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seizure disorder including epilepsy, terminal illness with prognosis of less than 12 months to live, and Tourette’s syndrome.

If you don’t have one of these conditions but live less than 100 miles from the Canadian border and suffer from chronic pain or PTSD, then you may qualify for a medical marijuana card as well.

The Process

The process of getting a medical marijuana card in New Jersey starts by finding out if your medical condition qualifies for treatment with cannabis or not. After that, you need to find authorized physicians near you who are registered as a Cannabis Therapeutic Consultant (CTC). CTCs are doctors who have completed an extensive training course on using cannabis as medicine and are certified by the state of New Jersey through their registration process.

Your doctor will examine you, discuss all potential risks and benefits, and develop a treatment plan to help achieve relief using cannabis. Once your doctor determines that cannabis is a good plan for you, they will then provide you with certification for medical marijuana as part of your treatment plan. 

Then you are given a unique identification number which is entered into the medical marijuana registry system. You must register with this number before you will be able to acquire any product from one of the dispensaries throughout the state offering medical cannabis products. Note that each patient can only have one CTC physician at a time.

Even though your doctor may certify that you qualify for a medical marijuana card, they cannot write you one themselves. You will still need to visit one of the four licensed dispensaries in New Jersey in person in order to get your official card.

These dispensaries are located in Monmouth County (Bellmawr), Burlington County (Egg Harbor Township), Mercer County (North Brunswick), and Warren County (Phillipsburg). Each dispensary has their own policies regarding which forms of medical marijuana they accept, how much it costs, what ID is needed to make a purchase, where you can use it, etc.

When you register, the office will take your signature, photograph, and fingerprint for identification purposes. The state will then review your application and email you with an approval. Once you are approved, you will have to pay the state’s $100 fee for issuance of your card. There is no temporary card. The state will mail the photo ID to you 1-3 weeks after approval.

This card will only be needed to purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary and it is not required outside of this instance. Acceptable forms of identification include a state issued driver’s license, a passport, or an out-of-state issued ID with proof of residency in New Jersey such as a water or electric bill.

Certifications expire in one year. Cards are valid for two years. 

Restrictions

The restrictions on getting a medical marijuana card in New Jersey are due to limitations imposed by federal law. Medical marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug under federal law. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved medical marijuana and it is still against federal law to use or possess.

Other restrictions to obtaining a medical marijuana card in New Jersey are that you cannot drive while under the influence or use it on public transportation or in public places. If you are found guilty of doing any of these things there are heavy penalties for first time offenders including fines of as much as $1,000 and instant revocation of your card for up to 3 years.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is growing more restrictive every year. Medical marijuana cards will not allow patients to visit interstate dispensaries – there are no reciprocation agreements between New Jersey and other states – which means your card will not work in California or Colorado. Only pharmacists are allowed to distribute medical marijuana flowers and other products.

This article has explained that although getting a medical marijuana card in New Jersey is not an easy task, and despite there being many restrictions, obtaining a card can greatly improve your quality of life if you qualify for treatment with cannabis.

However, make certain that you check out all of your options before making your decision, especially since medicinal marijuana is still controversial among many people. For help locating an authorized physician near you please visit njmmp.nj.gov/njmmp/.

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