New Jersey releases rules on medical marijuana

Le New Jersey libère des règles sur la marijuana médicale

par Astrid Fiano, DOTmed News Writer | October 11, 2010
Last week New Jersey released draft rules for the registration and application process for patients, physicians and dispensaries in allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Department of Health and Senior Services' draft rules are pending public notice and publication in the New Jersey Register. Following official publication, a public hearing will be scheduled to allow comment on the draft rules.

In states like New Jersey, medicinal marijuana may be used by qualified patients who are being treated for particular chronic, debilitating conditions. The debilitating medical conditions include cancer, MS, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, seizure disorders and Crohn's disease. New Jersey's legislation on medical marijuana is the most recent signed into law earlier this year. The District of Columbia also passed legislation in May. Fourteen other states have similar laws.

According to the draft rules, physicians who want to be able to recommend medical marijuana as treatment will register electronically with the department and have their credentials verified. The physicians will then submit names of patients to whom they recommended the treatment.

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Those patients will then be able to register in November. In addition, applications will be available this week for any entities interested in applying as cultivators and dispensaries. The availability of medicinal marijuana for patients is expected to be around summer of 2011. Home cultivation will not be allowed.

Some of the requirements in the draft rules include:

--The patients must have proof of New Jersey residency;

--Identification cards will be required of all participants in the program;

--Physicians must have a bona fide and ongoing relationship with qualified patients;

--Physicians must submit a certification acknowledging that they have explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana to the qualifying patient, and that the patient has not responded to conventional medical treatment and may benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana;

--Dispensaries must also provide educational materials and counsel patients on the risks and benefits of using medicinal marijuana.

The American Medical Association has recommended more studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients where evidence suggests the drug may have possible efficacy in treatment of disease.