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Will New Conditions Be Added to the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program?


August 21, 2017

The NJ Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel has recommended additional conditions for inclusion in the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program

The New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel (MMRP) has recently recommended that the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) qualify numerous additional conditions for inclusion in the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program.

Will New Conditions Be Added To New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program?

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To participate in the program, a patient must suffer from an approved debilitating medical condition. The current list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana includes, among others, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Multiple Sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, certain terminal illnesses, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

On July 21, the MMRP recommended that the Commissioner qualify dozens of additional debilitating conditions falling within the categories of chronic pain, migraine, anxiety, and Tourette’s Syndrome for inclusion in the State’s medicinal marijuana program. Among others, these specific conditions include spinal stenosis, neuropathic pain, arthritis, opioid use disorder, and fibromyalgia/osteoarthritis. The MMRP recommended against the inclusion of conditions related to the categories of asthma and chronic fatigue.

In making its recommendations, the MMRP reviewed 45 petitions and the following factors:

  • The extent to which the condition is generally accepted by the medical community and other experts as a valid, existing medical condition;
  • If one or more treatments of the condition, rather than the condition itself, are alleged to be the cause of the patient’s suffering, the extent to which the treatments causing suffering are generally accepted by the medical community and other experts as valid treatments for the condition;
  • The extent to which the condition itself and/or the treatments thereof cause severe suffering such as severe and/or chronic pain, severe nausea and/or vomiting, or otherwise severely impair the patient’s ability to carry on activities of daily living;
  • The availability of conventional medical therapies other than those that cause suffering to alleviate suffering caused by the condition and/or the treatment thereof;
  • The extent to which evidence that is generally accepted among the medical community and other experts supports a finding that the use of marijuana alleviates suffering caused by the condition and/or the treatment thereof; and
  • Letters of support from physicians or other licensed health care professionals knowledgeable about the condition.

The Department of Health will accept public comments regarding the MMRP’s recommendations until Monday, September 25, 2017.  Comments must be emailed or postmarked by that date and can be delivered electronically at mmp.administrator@doh.nj.gov or by mail to NJ Department of Health, Medicinal Marijuana Program, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ  08625-0360, Attn: Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel.

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:

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan McKillop, at 201-806-3364.

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