New Jersey health department refuses to expand medical marijuana access, says program working just fine


Think the New Jersey Department of Health has your back if you’re an MMJ patient? You’re wrong.
Only 78 percent of New Jersey’s 1,670 medical marijuana patients have made a marijuana purchase from one of only three medical marijuana dispensaries around the state, things are going just fine according to the state Health Department. Not only that, but the department has no plans to expand the list of qualifying conditions until at least next year. Sorry those of you with severe, chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder – you’ll have to go on being a criminal if you choose to use cannabis.

These revelations came out of the two-year-late Health Department reports as well as a court-ordered biennial report. Officials at the Health Department say they weren’t really required to consider a change to the qualifying condition until a second report has been released in 2015.
State advocates have called bullshit, however. They say it’s all a part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to slow down medical cannabis implementation in his state. Ken Wolski with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey said they are purposefully stalling.
“These limitations on the qualifying conditions was arbitrary and done solely to limit the extent of this program,” Wolski told “To delay adding new conditions is just cruel to people.”
People like James Price, who says that a workplace injury has left him suffering from pain so severe that a barrage of pharmaceutical painkillers doesn’t even help. He says it’s absurd that his pain can be so medically recognized and severe yet he can’t access herb.
“To be told that I can poison my body with pharmaceuticals but not have access to the most therapeutic, natural substance on the planet because of some out-of-date agenda is unconscionable,” Price said.
The New Jersey medical marijuana program has been under fire lately not only from patients, but lawmakers as well. Earlier this year the General Assembly oversight committee heard testimony from patients, dispensary owners and advocates all upset over the lack of access. They pointed out that three dispensaries granted licenses have taken years to open.
Patients have also done their part, sending in more than 16,000 emails and voicemails with their frustrations.