In 2010, on his final day in office, Governor Jon Corzine signed a law passing medical cannabis. He reportedly did this among a “flurry of bills” on his last day in power.
But even though the Garden State now had access to MMJ, everything was not coming up roses. The state’s medicinal cannabis program only had 11 qualifying conditions that would allow patients access. Although the law says that the state could add more conditions, the program became notorious for its rigid standards and strict guidelines.
It didn’t help matters that the incoming governor, Chris Christie, proved to be rabidly against cannabis. He even said that medical marijuana was an evil scheme plotted by Democrats to poison children.
Even so, he signed a law to allow children access to medical marijuana and even allowed a new addition to the list of qualifying conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder.
Luckily for medical marijuana patients, and everyone else living in New Jersey, Christie is on his way out of office. Either his deputy Kim Guadagno or the Democratic forerunner Phil Murphey will replace him. Both candidates have promised substantial changes to the state of weed in New Jersey.
After months of deliberation, the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel has officially approved five new conditions to qualify patients and allow them access to medical weed. The conditions are as follows:
Two other conditions were proposed as well. Those conditions were chronic fatigue syndrome and asthma. The panel, however, unanimously vetoed these last two conditions. Sufferers of asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome need not feel hopeless though. There’s always a chance that with the new governor, whoever it may be, there will be another chance to petition for the inclusion of these ailments. If New Jersey voters elect Murphey, and if he makes good on his position to legalize recreational cannabis, everyone (those of age, anyway) will have access to their medicine one way or another.
We’re not out of the woods quite yet though. Before NJ adds 5 new qualifying conditions to medical marijuana program, one more person needs to voice their approval. That one person is the Health Commissioner, Cathleen Bennett. Hand-picked by Christie, Bennett shares views with the current governor. She has historically opposed legalized cannabis. So she may give final approval if she feels the pressure to do so.
But she also might not. She has 180 days to make a definitive move in either direction. We’re sure that the added stress of knowing that this one person could stand in the way of natural and legal relief is not doing any good for the thousands of migraine and anxiety sufferers out there. We sincerely hope that they will be able to find some relief.