Murphy says medical marijuana program added 25K patients
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has seen a 150 percent increase in the number of patients participating since Gov. Phil Murphy took office, the Democrat said Thursday.
The program has added 25,500 patients since January 2018 and now has more than 42,500 patients participating. More than two dozen states allow the medical use of marijuana.
“I am proud that New Jersey now has a medical marijuana program that is compassionate and is meeting the needs of more and more patients,” Murphy said in a statement.
The news comes just after Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders announced an agreement on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis
Murphy added five conditions to the list of covered illnesses last March, including anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome and two types of chronic pain.
This year the state also added opioid-use disorder as an approved illness under the program.
Under previous rules, marijuana was only permitted to treat opioid-use disorder related to chronic pain, according to the governor.
New Jersey’s program began roughly a decade ago under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Republican Gov. Chris Christie, an ardent marijuana critic, implemented the program slowly during his two terms.
Murphy also lowered the patient fee to participate in the program from $200 to $100, with a $20 rate for veterans and seniors.
The governor also allowed doctors who prescribe marijuana not to appear on a public registry. Murphy has said there was a sense that doctors who prescribed the drug faced a stigma.