Medical cannabis

Medical use

Which medical conditions qualify for treatment with cannabis products? What other rules and restrictions govern medical use of cannabis (eg, dosage limits)?

Qualifying medical conditionsA patient qualifies for treatment with cannabis products if a physician certifies that the individual has one of the following approved debilitating medical conditions:

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • anxiety;
  • chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders;
  • chronic pain of visceral origin;
  • migraine;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • terminal cancer;
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease);
  • terminal illness (if the physician has determined a prognosis of fewer than 12 months of life); and
  • Tourette's Syndrome.

A patient also qualifies for treatment if they are resistant or intolerant to conventional therapy for:

  • seizure disorder (including epilepsy);
  • intractable skeletal muscular spasticity;
  • glaucoma; or
  • post-traumatic stress disorder.

A patient also qualifies for treatment if they have severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome resulting from the condition or treatment of:

  • positive status for human immunodeficiency virus;
  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome; or
  • cancer.

A physician registered with the state's Medicinal Marijuana Program must provide written instructions establishing the total amount of medicinal cannabis that a patient may be dispensed in a 30-day period. However, the amount cannot exceed two ounces. A patient may register at only one alternative treatment centers (ATC) to purchase medical cannabis. Cannabis in an edible form is only available to qualifying patients who are under the age of 18. The maximum tetrahydrocannabinol content of any product sold to 10%.

Qualifying patients may not operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any vehicle, aircraft, railroad train, stationary heavy equipment or vessel while under the influence of cannabis; or smoke cannabis in a school bus or other form of public transportation, in a private vehicle unless the vehicle is not in operation, on any school grounds, in any correctional facility, at any public park or beach, at any recreation center, or in any place where smoking is prohibited.

ATCs are not permitted to deliver medicinal cannabis to patients.

Physician licensing

What licensing requirements apply for physicians seeking to prescribe cannabis products to patients?

Physicians are required to register with the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH). To qualify, a physician must:

  • hold an active New Jersey Medical license in good standing issued by the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners;
  • possess an active controlled dangerous substances registration issued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs that is not subject to limitation; and
  • practice within New Jersey.

Pharmacy licensing

What licensing requirements apply for pharmacies seeking to dispense cannabis products?

Pharmacies are not permitted dispense cannabis products. 

Health insurance

How are cannabis products covered by health insurers (both public and private)? Are there any rules or restrictions in this regard?

There are no restrictions or requirements regarding the coverage by health insurers. Instead, the act provides that nothing in this act shall be construed to require… private health insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana.”

Notwithstanding the statutory language, New Jersey workers’ compensation judges have ordered workers’ compensation carriers to pay for injured workers’ medical cannabis (see McNeary v. Township of Freehold, Claim Petition No. 2008-8094 (June 28, 2018); Watson v. 84 Lumber, Claim Petition No. 2009-15740 (December 15, 2016)). 

On its website, the DOH advises patients that medicinal cannabis is not a covered service under Medicaid or any other health plans in New Jersey.

Product development

What opportunities are available for cannabis businesses to cooperate with healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes in the development of new medical cannabis products? Are there any notable regulatory considerations in this regard?

Because cannabis remains illegal under federal law, opportunities for cannabis businesses to cooperate with others in the development of new medical cannabis products are limited. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved cannabis as a safe and effective drug for any indication. However, the FDA has approved one drug product that contains the purified substance cannabidiol. The FDA has also approved two drugs containing a synthetic version of a substance that is present in the cannabis plant, as well as one other drug containing a synthetic substance that acts similarly to compounds from cannabis.

The FDA recognizes that it plays a vital role in supporting scientific research into the medical uses of cannabis. As a part of its role, the FDA supports those in the medical research community who intend to study cannabis and does so through cooperation with other federal agencies. On its website, the FDA outlines the process for conducting research with cannabis.

Stockton University, a public university with its main campus in Galloway, New Jersey, offers a minor in cannabis studies. This interdisciplinary minor consists of five courses, including introduction to medical marijuana, cannabis law, and internship preparation.