In 2016, New Jersey joined its neighboring states in the legalization of cannabis for medicinal use. Currently, residents of New Jersey with qualifying conditions can legally purchase medicinal cannabis from state-registered medical dispensaries. These qualifications currently include: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cancer (including associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea), Crohn's disease, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS (including chronic pain and/or severe nausea associated with the conditions), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizure and/or spasticity disorders.
While the list of qualifying conditions is one of the shortest among states where medical marijuana is legal, a special board is appointed to adding additional conditions over a period of time. Once a patient has been diagnosed with one or more of the conditions listed above, they must acquire their current medical records as evidence of the condition and submit it, along with a copy of proof of residence in the state of New Jersey, and proof of age.
Once residents have submitted the necessary documents and fees, they are registered within the program and will receive their medicinal marijuana card. From this point, patients are allowed to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis per month from registered dispensaries but are not allowed to cultivate plants within their home.
Those with medical marijuana cards are still subject to drug tests held by employers, in which those who fail the test are terminated. No amount of cannabis, medicinal or otherwise, can legally be transported across state lines. Patients are also not permitted to drive under the influence of cannabis and can be charged with a DUI for doing so.
With signs pointing to the legalization of recreational cannabis in the near future, dispensaries open to the public may not be far from reach. Until then, legally acquiring a medicinal marijuana card is the only way to purchase and legally possess cannabis in the state of New Jersey.