Medical marijuana alternative treatment centers (ATCs) can deliver cannabis to patients and their caregivers under a new waiver granted by the New Jersey Department of Public Health (NJDOH). According to the agency, the waiver aims to ensure qualifying patients acquire medicinal marijuana safely and reduce trips to ATCs during the state’s COVID-19 response.
“The Department continues to prioritize patient access during this unprecedented pandemic,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a press statement. “This new waiver will allow ATCs, once they have submitted a plan to the Department for approval, to deliver across the state.”
The Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law last summer, contains provisions authorizing the delivery of medical marijuana. The law mandated that the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) establish a process to authorize deliveries of medical cannabis. However, the process has not yet been established. During the COVID-19 shutdown, ATCs remained open; however, many cannabis patients were understandably concerned about waiting in long lines or visiting crowded ATCs. While some ATCS are offering online appointments and curbside pickup, patient access was still a concern.
NJDOH Cannabis Home Delivery Waiver
Under the NJDOH medical marijuana delivery waiver, ATCs and patients should be aware of the numerous requirements set forth in the waiver. They include:
- ATCs may deliver in any region and may institute geographic and hourly restrictions on where and when they opt to deliver to patients. Any such restrictions must be reported to the NJDOH and listed on the ATC’s webpage.
- Orders must be placed in advance, and products must be labeled in the ATC prior to delivery.
- Products must be locked and stored in a secure lockbox in the vehicle used for delivery (“Delivery Vehicle”) until an ATC Delivery Employee arrives at the delivery address.
- Deliveries may be conducted by a single ATC Delivery Employee provided, however, that another ATC employee, preferably a supervisor, has access to real-time GPS tracking of the Delivery Vehicle.
- ATCs may only deliver to the physical addresses that are verified in the Patient Registry, and may only deliver to verified patients and caregivers.
- ATCs may not leave product unattended (i.e. on a porch or stoop), may not deliver in mailboxes, may not deliver to PO Boxes, and may not deliver to any addresses on federally owned property.
- At the door of the patient or caregiver, an ATC Delivery Employee must conduct an in-person visual verification of the registry identification card of the patient or caregiver prior to dispensing, which may be conducted without handling the card, for example through a window.
- ATCs must maintain a delivery log, which includes the following information for every delivery conducted by the ATC: date & time that the delivery began (when the vehicle leaves dispensary) and ended (when the product is delivered to the patient or caregiver); name & address of recipient; name & ATC identification card number of ATC Delivery Employee; form, amount, & tracking number(s) of medicinal marijuana delivered; and confirmation of registry identification card verification.
- A Delivery Vehicle must bear no markings that would indicate that it is used to transport medicinal marijuana. ATCs must also provide the NJDOH with current information on all Delivery Vehicles including each vehicle’s make, model, color, Vehicle Identification Number, license plate number, and vehicle registration.
- ATCs must maintain current hired and non-owned automobile liability insurance sufficient to insure each Delivery Vehicle in the amount of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence or accident.
- ATCs must provide their Delivery Employees with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and training on how to conduct deliveries while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
ATC Medical Marijuana Delivery Plans
Prior to initiating delivery services, ATCs must also submit a delivery plan for approval by the NJDOH. The delivery plan must include Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the following:
- Taking orders, verifying registry identification cards and authorizations, and taking payment;
- Logging the transactions in the registry and ATC inventory;
- Conducting in-person deliveries, which must include protocols for use of PPE and regular sanitization if necessary;
- Maintaining privacy and confidentiality;
- Training ATC Delivery Employees;
- Tracking Delivery Vehicles and inventory;
- Security for ATC Delivery Employees, Delivery Vehicles and Inventory; and
- Emergency notification and response in the event of accidents, theft, equipment malfunction, or other emergency events.
COVID-19 has accelerated medical cannabis delivery in New Jersey, which is good news for patients and ATCs. As ATCs work to incorporate delivery into their business models, it is imperative to incorporate all of the requirements set forth in the NJDOH waiver.
If you have questions, please contact us
If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan McKillop, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.
This article is a part of a series pertaining to cannabis legalization in New Jersey and the United States at large. Prior articles in this series are below:
- Understanding How the USPTO’s Examination Guide for Cannabis Marks Impacts CBD Products
- How NJ Supreme Court Decision Impacts Employee Use of Medical Cannabis
- NJ Senate Passes Bill Authorizing Medical Cannabis Patients to Use Telehealth
Disclaimer: Possession, use, distribution, and/or sale of cannabis is a Federal crime and is subject to related Federal policy. Legal advice provided by Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC is designed to counsel clients regarding the validity, scope, meaning, and application of existing and/or proposed cannabis law. Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC will not provide assistance in circumventing Federal or state cannabis law or policy, and advice provided by our office should not be construed as such.