Murphy administration doubles medical marijuana patients, to 34K

The Murphy administration announced the number of medical marijuana patients in New Jersey’s Medicinal Medical Marijuana Program has double from about 17,000 to 34,000 since Gov. Phil Murphy took office in January.

The program also has added 300 new doctors and reduced wait times for ID cards, the administration announced. Dispensaries can also now post prices so patients can comparatively shop.

Other reforms to the program include reduced patient wait times for ID card to an average of two weeks; allowing caregivers for terminally ill patients to get provisional eligibility cards while waiting for background checks; and a streamlined internal processes for new patient applications.

“New Jersey’s program has made incredible strides in expanding access and becoming a compassionate, consumer-friendly service for patients by adding physicians and new medical conditions and seeking applications for another six dispensaries,” Murphy said.

“The addition of five new medical conditions — anxiety, migraines, two forms of chronic pain and Tourette’s Syndrome — has been the primary driver in the growth of the program,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “We’ve also added 300 physicians to the program — for a total of 800 — including 200 who joined since I began a series of Grand Rounds lectures in hospitals and medical schools to educate the medical community about medical marijuana’s benefits. Physicians should consider marijuana as another appropriate treatment for patients with many medical conditions, especially diseases for which conventional therapies aren’t working for their patients.”

In addition to the new patients, there at 1,345 caregivers and 800 physicians in the program, along with six Alternative Treatment Centers.

Of the 17,000 new patients added since January, a majority have one of the five new medical conditions added to qualify for the program in March.

“Over the past three months alone, the program has added 9,000 patients,” Elnahal said.