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  • NJ A4026
  • Revises various requirements concerning State medical marijuana program, including facilitating access to medical marijuana for children with debilitating medical conditions and their caregivers.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill makes certain revisions to the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act," including permitting patients to access medical marijuana in any quantity, form, strain, or potency appropriate to the patient's treatment needs, mandating the promulgation of standardized dosage units, authorizing the registration of secondary caregivers to assist qualifying patients with the medical use of marijuana in schools and at certain facilities, and providing certain additional legal protections under the act. Authorization for Medical Marijuana The bill revises certain provisions concerning a physician's written instructions authorizing a patient for medical marijuana, providing that a physician's written instructions may include express requirements concerning the form, strain, quantity, or potency of medical marijuana to be dispensed to the patient. Written instructions will be valid for 60 days from the date of issuance or, in the case of multiple written instructions, the date the instructions become valid. The bill provides that medical marijuana may be considered as a treatment of first resort for a patient with a debilitating medical condition, and that there is no requirement that a patient have exhausted other treatment options as a condition of being authorized for the medical use of marijuana. Medical marijuana is to be considered the same as any other medication used at the direction of a physician, and a patient may not be disqualified from receiving any medical care, including an organ transplant, based on the authorized use of medical marijuana. The bill revises the provisions concerning qualifying patients who are minors to provide that a pediatric specialist is required to authorize medical marijuana for a qualifying patient who is a minor. If the physician treating the minor patient for the patient's debilitating condition is a pediatric specialist, no additional approval is needed. Under current regulations, the approval of up to three practitioners may be necessary to authorize medical marijuana for a qualifying patient who is a minor. The bill also allows both parents of a minor child who is a qualifying patient to serve as the child's primary caregiver, and provides that a parent may concurrently serve as primary caregiver to any minor child of the parent who is a qualifying patient. The bill eliminates registration fees for primary and secondary caregivers, but does not revise the current registration fees for qualifying patients. The bill eliminates the current requirement that primary caregivers undergo a criminal history background check during the application and renewal process. The bill prohibits law enforcement officers and employees from damaging, destroying, or in any way altering medical marijuana, and prohibits local government units from enacting and enforcing any ordinance or other local law or regulation conflicting with the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Secondary Caregivers Under current law, P.L.2015, c.158 (C.18A:40-12.21 et al.) authorizes parents and primary caregivers to assist patients with the medical use of marijuana while on school grounds, aboard a school bus, attending a school-sponsored event, or receiving services from a facility that provides services to persons with developmental disabilities. The bill requires long-term care facilities to adopt similar policies, and authorizes the registration of "secondary caregivers," who will also be permitted to assist qualifying patients with the use of medical marijuana at these locations. To serve as a secondary caregiver, a person will be required to be an adult employee of the patient's school or facility who is not the patient's physician and who is authorized to serve as secondary caregiver by the patient or the patient's primary caregiver. Service as a secondary caregiver will be voluntary, and a person may serve as secondary caregiver to more than one qualifying patient at the school or facility at a time. Persons applying to serve as a secondary caregiver will be required to undergo a criminal history record background check unless the person has already undergone a criminal history record background check as a condition of employment in the person's current position. Registration as a secondary caregiver will be valid for one year. Alternative Treatment Centers This bill provides that alternative treatment centers will not be limited in the potency of any type of medical marijuana cultivated or in the strains, quantities, or forms of medical marijuana that may be offered, provided they are appropriate for the treatment of qualifying patients. The bill removes the current restriction that permits edible forms of medical marijuana to be distributed only to qualifying patients who are minors. The bill additionally requires DOH to develop standardized dosage units for each form of medical marijuana available at an alternative treatment center, which are to be established within 45 days of the effective date of the bill for each form of medical marijuana in existence on the effective date, and within 45 days after a new form is first made available for forms made available after the effective date. DOH is to make a current list of standardized dosage units available on its Internet website and is to transmit the list to alternative treatment centers both annually and at such times as the list is revised or updated. The Board of Medical Examiners will be required to advise physicians of the availability of standardized dosage information, and DOH will be required to furnish a current list to physicians upon request. The bill provides that, in the event DOH requires its approval for an alternative treatment center to take any action in connection with the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act," and requiring such approval is not otherwise prohibited by law, DOH is to approve or deny an application for such approval no later than 45 days after the date the application is submitted. Applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received and no applicant is to receive preferential treatment in the application process. An application deemed incomplete may not be denied unless it is first returned to the applicant with an itemized description of every incomplete item on the application and the applicant is granted at least 30 days to return a corrected application. An application that is denied is to include a detailed explanation of the reasons for the denial. An application that is not approved or denied by DOH within 45 days will be deemed approved.
Health and Senior Services
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee  (on 6/30/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
6/30/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified