New Jersey Considers Allowing Medical Marijuana Patients to Home Grow
After years of hesitation, it appears that New Jersey lawmakers are starting to consider home growing for medical marijuana patients.
Currently home growing is banned in the state, punishable with jail time and fines. The two new bills recently introduced would reverse the ban and allow NJ patients to register as home cultivators with the ability to grow a certain number of mature and immature plants. The bill introduced by Senator Singleton aims to allow 4 plants of each. Many other states do currently allow home growing, so this would be a big step for New Jersey.
In addition to the home grow bill, Senator Singleton is also exploring a program to help subsidize the cost of medical marijuana for NJ patients.
It is important to note that all patients must be medically certified with a medical marijuana card before purchasing and growing medical marijuana in the future. Both of these bills aim to help minimize the financial cost for patients with financial need and help make medical marijuana more accessible.
My name is Sachin K. Shah, MD and I am the medical director of Alternative Health of New Jersey. I am the physician who has been certifying and renewing your status as a New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program participant.
In November, New Jersey residents voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Just in the past few weeks, New Jersey’s State Assembly and Senate also voted in favor of this. On Monday, the Bill hit a roadblock. Governor Murphy and state lawmakers need to iron out how to handle penalties for underage use and how to approach the decriminalization process. Top lawmakers in the state are still not on board with a full decriminalization process, which means individuals can still be arrested for public use and possession of marijuana until further notice.
It’s important to understand there is a significant difference between recreational and medical marijuana. First off, the concentration and strains are very different, and those that are being used for medicinal use will only be available through medically approved, state approved dispensaries after being certified by a physician, like myself and the office of Alternative Health of New Jersey. While marijuana may be easier to find at some point in the future, it is important for you to work with a licensed medical doctor to follow your care where they can recommend different strains, amounts, or methods to use medical marijuana to ensure you find the most relief.
In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to call our office. I wish you all a happy holiday, healthy and a COVID-free new year!
– Dr. Sachin K. Shah and the Alternative Health of New Jersey Staff
Last night, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly backed Question 1 to permit the possession, sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and over. About 67% of New Jersey voters voted in favor of this measure as of last night, now marking New Jersey as the 12th state to legalize marijuana.
So, what exactly does this mean for those looking to get their hands on marijuana who don’t possess a medical card? Well, don’t think you’ll be able to go out today and buy it legally and smoke it publicly without getting a ticket or possibly even arrested. It’ll likely be well over a year before recreational marijuana users can make those purchases, especially since additional dispensaries will need to be added in order to ensure medical users still have access to their supply. Additionally, you’ll notice the ballot did not contain any regulatory framework, which will be needed before we see anything circulating freely amongst New Jerseyans. As of now, it will be up to the discretion of the Legislature and CRC (Cannabis Regulatory Commission) to act swiftly. The CRC has been managing the market for medical marijuana in the state, and now will be responsible for managing the emerging recreational market. Next, the Legislature will need to take the steps toward creating new marijuana laws and steps for full decriminalization.
So what does this mean for medical users?
Rest assured, your marijuana access will not be compromised. While some state senators suggested using current medical marijuana dispensaries as a starting point for a brick and mortar beginning for recreational sales, it was quickly shut down by others, citing that the capacity of these medical dispensaries cannot handle the demand that personal use sales would bring, ultimately jeopardizing medical user’s access. In addition, medical marijuana quality and potency will always be steps above that of recreational marijuana. If you are holding off getting your medical card in hopes of being able to use it recreationally, you’ll likely be waiting quite a bit of time. While the Legislature can move quickly, we all know it does take quite some time to get all the framework outlined and passed. It is especially important for those seeking marijuana for medical issues to get seen by a doctor to ensure proper treatment. Self diagnosis and medicating is never a good idea.
If you believe you are a candidate for medical marijuana, send us a message or give us a call today!
Effective July 1, 2020, the sales tax on medicinal marijuana in New Jersey will be lowering to 4%, down from 6.625%! Read more about the news here.