By: Judith Cassel

Earlier this year New Jersey doubled the number of patients certified to take medical marijuana from 5,000 to 10,000, directly resulting from New Jersey certifying Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a condition treatable with medical marijuana.  On May 16, 2017, New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel voted to add several conditions to the list of conditions treatable under New Jersey’s medical marijuana law.  The suggested additional conditions are: chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and anxiety related to autism or Alzheimer’s disease.

This dramatic expansion of conditions qualified for medical marijuana treatment, if approved, could substantially increase the number of medical marijuana certified patients in New Jersey.  With this expansion, patient counts could experience a 1400% growth from 10,000 to 150,000 patients – a number that may better support the nascent medical marijuana industry in New Jersey.

There are road blocks to the approval of these additional conditions: mainly New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie.  Governor Christie has been an opponent of medical marijuana.  But there is still hope.  Since patients and activists successfully sued Governor Christie in 2014, the process of adding conditions has moved forward.

The recommendations of the Medicinal Board will be posted on the state Health Department’s website for 60 days for public comment.  A public hearing will also be held.  The final decision will be up to Governor’s Christie’s appointee, Cathleen Bennett.  A final push for approval by New Jersey medical marijuana advocates might just help New Jersey’s patients who wait hopefully for the list’s expansion.