How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey
The ever evolving world of medical marijuana can be a bit intimidating to those that aren’t familiar with exactly how to go about it. Because the federal government still hasn’t gotten on board with legalizing marijuana in America as a whole, legalization has been left up to individual states to deal with, making the rules very different from state to state. While most will agree that marijuana can absolutely be used medicinally for a myriad of aliments, legislators and politicians just can’t seem to agree on exactly how to go about it.
Recently, my home state of New Jersey became another state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes as of January 1st after passing Public Question 1 in November last year (props to governor Phil Murphy for making drug reform a part of his platform). Unfortunately, the legislation is a bit in limbo because legislators can’t quite seem to agree on rules and stipulations for recreational users to purchase the magic herb from a certified seller. The bill doesn’t even contain certain details such as how much is legal for possession. According to WeedMaps.com, until specified otherwise, “possession of 50 grams of cannabis or less is punishable by six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000”.
While this is a bit disheartening for many of us, the good news is that New Jersey has had legal medical marijuana since 2010 with the passing of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). The biggest downside for casual stoners is that you do need a legitimate medical condition and approval from a certified doctor to sign up for the states medicinal marijuana program. While it is a bit difficult to get approved, there are many resources that can help expedite the process if you suffer from a qualifying ailment.
So we here at Loud News Net want to empower our readers with the knowledge to traverse the weird world of medical marijuana, one state at a time. Here’s everything you need to know to get a medical marijuana card in New Jersey.
Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card?
I have a lot of grievances with how legalization is being treated in this country in general, but with every state that takes that leap of faith to legalizing it in some capacity, whether it be medicinally or recreationally, it brings us one step closer to changes on a federal level and, most importantly, a social level. So while many states may have arguably imperfect legislation, there is definitely a silver lining for those of us that sing Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalize It’ and mean it.
I believe that the more people that sign up for medicinal marijuana in any state, the more it demonstrates to legislators that there is definitely a demand and a public need for such a service. This only helps the efforts of those fighting the good fight at city halls across the country, and possibly federal courts someday soon.
It’s also really good for people that live in states where recreational use and possession is still legally frowned upon. Having a medical card and understanding what that entails can help you deal with scenarios that may involve the law that could otherwise end with you in handcuffs.
And finally, there is something really nice about purchasing bud from a certified seller. While I love and will miss dearly buying from my dude up the block, he can’t offer me what a nice head shop can, most notably a vast selection of different strains that serve various purposes in different forms, such as edibles or vapes. And those that sell medicinal herb have to have people on staff that are knowledgeable and can get you what you need for whatever ails you. I’ve never really liked shopping too much, but I imagine it’s probably what people that do love shopping feel like when they walk into a Wal-Mart or something – the possibilities feel endless.
How and Where to Apply for Your Card
First, we need to figure out if you are eligible for a medical marijuana card in the state of New Jersey. Let’s take a look at the list of eligible conditions given by the New Jersey Department of Health:
– Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
– Chronic Pain
– Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
– Intractable skeletal spasticity
– Multiple sclerosis
– Muscular dystrophy
– Opioid Use Disorder
– Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
– Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
– Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
– Terminal illness with prognosis of less than 12 months to live
– Tourette Syndrome
Second, if any of those are a condition you suffer from, you will have to find a registered doctor that is approved by the state to recommend marijuana as a treatment. The Department of Health site has a portal to search for doctors in your area. Your physician should provide you with the necessary paperwork and reference number needed for you to register with the Department of Health.
Third, after an evaluation with a qualified doctor and receiving your reference number, you are ready to register with the state and receive your card. Along with the reference number, you’ll need on hand:
– A recent photo of yourself (for your card)
– Photo ID (such as Driver’s License, State ID, etc.)
– Proof of residency in New Jersey
– Registration fee (of $100, but can be reduced for qualifying patients)
Head over to the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program website where it will guide you through the process online, and eventually send you your card by mail upon completion.
And there you have it, you are officially one step closer to getting the medical relief you need.
– For a list of dispensaries in and around your area, check out this list at the MMP Directory website.
– The main NJ Department of Health website offers a patient FAQ page that goes into more detail about everything you need to know before getting started.
– A service called NuggMD offers a completely digital signup process, including a virtual appoint with one of their qualifying physicians, for a flat fee of around $149. I can’t attest to it myself, but it seems like it could make the process much quicker and easier.