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New Jersey Proposals Aim to Expand Patient Access and Establish Research Partnerships

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) is calling for public feedback on new proposals that seek to expand access to medical cannabis for patients in the state and establish research partnerships between dispensaries and research institutions.

In a bid to improve the state’s medical cannabis programme, the proposed amendments have also been established to reduce people’s reliance on opioids – which has been declared a public health crisis in the US.

Governor Murphy stated: “…of New Jersey’s nine million residents, only approximately 15,000 are able to participate in the State’s medical marijuana programme.”

This compares to states with similar population sizes such as Michigan, which currently serves an estimated 218,000 patients, and Arizona, which currently serves over 136,000 patients.

The new rules would see the creation of a new ‘clinical registrant permit’ that would allow dispensaries to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense medical cannabis. However, they will also be able to engage in clinical research involving medical cannabis “using qualifying patients who consent to being part of such research”

The rules state: “A clinical registrant may dispense usable medical cannabis and medical cannabis products, in any form authorized by an institutional review board (IRB), directly to an academic medical center as part of a research study.

“An academic medical center that handles medical cannabis items shall do so in a manner consistent with the academic medical center’s standards used for the handling, storage, and disposal of other patient medications.”

The types of research that will be able to be carried out include the therapeutic or palliative efficacy of medical cannabis on the qualifying medical conditions, or on any other medical or psychological condition.

The Commission has stated that it anticipates the proposed new rules will result in an economic benefit for the residents of the State.

“The Commission expects the State to generate tax revenues on the retail sales of medical cannabis items purchased at clinical registrant dispensaries. Further, the Commission is authorised to collect application and renewal fees from clinical registrants,” the Commission writes.

Public comment on the rules is open until 6 October, 2023.

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