New Jersey is the latest state turning to medical marijuana to help fight the opioid epidemic.
Following in the footsteps of Pennsylvania and Illinois, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy (D) has announced the state now allows treatment for opioid use disorder with medical marijuana. New Jersey lawmakers began exploring the option back in July and according to the state Department of Health the new program is effective immediately.
"We are pleased to announce that, as of today, opioid use disorder is a condition for which physicians can recommend medical marijuana to patients," the state health commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a press release. "We are also taking steps to ensure that these patients will be on medication-assisted treatment for their addiction, in addition to marijuana."
The addition of opioid use disorder to the list of conditions approved for treatment with medical marijuana came as part of a set of new regulations geared towards mitigating the opioid epidemic in New Jersey. This includes broadening access to the state's medication-assisted treatment for addictions programs, and the establishment of Centers of Excellence for opioid treatment at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
Murphy has been a big advocate for both improving New Jersey's medical marijuana program and bringing recreational cannabis to the Garden State since his election to the governor's office last year. And while he has (as of yet) been unsuccessful in implementing a regulated market for recreational cannabis, this new expansion of the state's medical marijuana program will no doubt prove to be an invaluable asset in the fight against the ongoing opioid epidemic.
h/t Marijuana Moment