Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that will expand the medical marijuana program of the state. One of the notable changes in the bill is that patients who could only possess a medical cannabis supply that can last 90 days can now legally possess a year’s worth of medical marijuana supplies.
This change has been applauded by pro-marijuana advocates because it will reduce the inconveniences and costs associated with making frequent trips to a dispensary, especially for patients and caregivers will don’t stay near a provisioning center and those who have mobility challenges.
The number of medical cannabis producers has also been increased, This was in response to complaints about high product prices and a limited variety of medical marijuana products in dispensaries. It is hoped that the introduction of additional producers will make prices more competitive and it will also drive innovation so that patients have more variety to select from.
The new law also increases the number of medical conditions for which patients can qualify for medical marijuana permits, a move that analysts believe was welcome news to the entire industry including players like Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Sproutly Canada Inc. (CSE: SPR) (OTCQB: SRUTF) (FRA: 38G) since a potentially bigger market was created for the medical marijuana products of the cannabis companies within the state. In the past, only sufferers of debilitating conditions could get a medical marijuana license. With the signing of the new law, other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, cancer, opioid use disorder, glaucoma and epilepsy can qualify a patient to use medical marijuana.
Home delivery of medical marijuana will become a reality once this law takes effect. This is seen as making medical marijuana more accessible for people in areas that don’t have a dispensary. More jobs will also be created for those who participate in the home delivery service.
Since coming into office, Gov. Murphy has so far expanded the medical marijuana program twice. Under his administration, the number of patients has grown to 49,000 from just 15,000 during the time of his predecessor (Gov. Chris Christie). Now that more qualifying conditions have been added, the number of patients will increase even further.
While pro-marijuana advocates are happy that the medical marijuana program has been expanded, this law comes at a time when people are still disappointed that recreational marijuana wasn’t legalized as had widely been expected during the legislative session that ended recently.
The lack of sufficient support for the legalization bill in the state senate made legislative leaders to call off a vote on the bill, and frantic negotiations last month couldn’t secure the needed votes. It now appears that the issue may go to voters during the elections next year or the next midterms.
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