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New Jersey Outlines Medical Marijuana Rules

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Last week New Jersey released draft rules for the registration and application process for patients, physicians and dispensaries in allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Department of Health and Senior Services’ draft rules are pending public notice and publication in the New Jersey Register. Following official publication, a public hearing will be scheduled to allow comment on the draft rules.

According to the draft rules, physicians who want to be able to recommend medical marijuana as treatment will register electronically with the department and have their credentials verified. The physicians will then submit names of patients to whom they recommended the treatment.

Those patients will then be able to register in November. In addition, applications will be available this week for any entities interested in applying as cultivators and dispensaries. The availability of medicinal marijuana for patients is expected to be around summer of 2011. Home cultivation will not be allowed.

Some of the requirements in the draft rules include:

– The patients must have proof of New Jersey residency;

– Identification cards will be required of all participants in the program;

– Physicians must have a bona fide and ongoing relationship with qualified patients;

– Physicians must submit a certification acknowledging that they have explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana to the qualifying patient, and that the patient has not responded to conventional medical treatment and may benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana;

– Dispensaries must also provide educational materials and counsel patients on the risks and benefits of using medicinal marijuana.

The American Medical Association has recommended more studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients where evidence suggests the drug may have possible efficacy in treatment of disease.

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