Americans For Safe Access (ASA) published a review of New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) on March 29, 2017, giving it a “C” grade and citing some of the program’s short comings.
ASA is the largest national member-based organization that promotes safe and legal access to medical cannabis. Its member base includes patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens. This grade puts New Jersey’s MMP ranking close to the middle of the road regarding other programs. The report lists 20 programs scoring lower than New Jersey’s MMP and 21 programs that scored higher than New Jersey’s C grade.
Comparing MMPs that were created around the same time as New Jersey’s; Washington DC received a B-; Arizona received a B-; and Delaware received a C+. For a relatively new MMP, New Jersey seems to be slightly behind its fellow programs, but there are opportunities for legislation to be amended and improved.
New Jersey’s MMP received this average grade due to categories such as patients’ rights and civil protection from discrimination, access to medicine and ease of navigation. Patients’ rights include their vulnerability to arrest and the lack of housing and employment protections. There has been two pieces of legislation introduced that have the potential to protect patients from certain adverse actions taken by employers regarding a patient’s status as a medical cannabis patient or a positive drug test for cannabis.
Ease of navigation took into consideration the qualifying conditions, how hard it is to enroll in the program, reasonable doctor requirements and more. New Jersey’s MMP has a limited list of qualify conditions, but it is anticipating additional conditions to be added with the Medical Marijuana Review Panel reviewing other conditions in the upcoming months.
Access to medicine in New Jersey does not include home grown cannabis. Instead, the MMP requires patients to choose one Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) to purchase medicine from at a given time. With only five ATCs to choose from, patients’ options are limited compared to other states.
According to ASA, there are over 2 million legal cannabis patients nationwide, and reports such as this gives insight on how to improve these patients’ lives.
To read the full report on
medical cannabis access in the U.S.