On Monday, the New Jersey Legislature made significant inroads towards the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use in the state. First, the Legislature approved two combined medical cannabis program expansion bills that would expand the definition and scope of Alternative Treatment Centers in New Jersey. This would allow for significant modifications to the application and permitting process under New Jersey’s current medical cannabis law, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA).
In general, the proposed modifications to New Jersey’s medical cannabis program include: revising the statutory requirements for authorizing a patient for medical cannabis; expanding the types of health care practitioners who may authorize medical cannabis for authorized patients; increasing the amount of cannabis that may be dispensed to patients; establishing institutional caregivers who can assist patients and residents in health care facilities with the medical use of cannabis; revising the permitting requirements for Alternative Treatment Centers; and establishing additional legal protections for registered cardholders and other individuals.
Separately, the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee approved the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act, which proposes to legalize possession and personal use of cannabis for anyone age 21 and older. This Act establishes a five-person Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee the development, regulation and enforcement of activities associated with recreational cannabis use. The Commission will further be tasked with assuming responsibility from the Department of Health for the further development and regulation of medical use cannabis pursuant to CUMMA.
Although the bills next must pass the full State Senate and Assembly, this legislation will propose significant legal and financial impacts to those entities involved in the New Jersey cannabis market. Connell Foley continues to guide clients through the various regulatory and business considerations that are developing as a result of this process.
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