TRENTON NJ (CNBNewsnet)--Patients, caregivers and physicians can now access the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program across mobile platforms so they can register, upload documents and make payments on tablets, iPhones and other devices.
“Continuing our focus on improving the consumer experience in the Medicinal Marijuana Program, for the first time since the program’s inception, the website is now mobile friendly,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “With the rise in smartphone and tablet usage, providing mobile access to the Medicinal Marijuana program is a great first step.”
Nationally, the market share for usage of mobile devices (Smart phones and tablets) is about equal to desktop use, according to Statcounter.
The Department is also investing $50,000 in a public awareness campaign to let physicians and patients know that we have expanded the medical conditions and view the program as an important medical therapy to relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that patients will rely on and become addicted to opioids. The campaign will feature paid social media, a radio Public Service Announcement from the Commissioner and online advertising. As part of the physician education component, the Department will produce a webinar and Dr. Elnahal will conduct grand rounds lectures later this spring for medical students, residents and other physicians at hospitals and medical schools around the state.
Mobile access was one of more than 20 legislative, regulatory and programmatic reforms to change the culture of the program that were contained in a report Commissioner Elnahal submitted to Governor Murphy in response to Executive Order 6, which directed a comprehensive review of the program within 60 days. Governor Murphy detailed the roadmap for reform during a press conference on March 27, 2018.
With the release of the report, the program has added five new medical conditions, reduced patient and caregiver fees, allowed dispensaries to submit waivers to add satellite locations, and proposed changes in law that would increase the monthly product limit for patients, and allow those in hospice care to have an unlimited supply. The Alternative Treatment Centers have submitted three satellite waiver requests so far.
The biennial patient registration fee was lowered from $200 to $100 and veterans and seniors—(65 and older)—were added to the list of those who qualify for the $20 discounted registration fee. Those on government assistance, including federal disability, already receive the reduced fee.
The new medical conditions are anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain.
Currently, 19,216 patients, 577 physicians, and 870 caregivers participate in the program – a far smaller number than comparably populated states.
Commissioner Elnahal also elevated the program to a Division level and appointed a new Assistant Commissioner, Jeff Brown.
The Department of Health report outlining recent reforms to the program is available at: http://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdfConsumers, physicians, and business owners with questions about the report can email inquiries to MMPquestions@doh.nj.gov. Frequently Asked Questions are also available on the Department’s medical marijuana webpage for patients, physicians and Alternative Treatment Centers. For additional information about medical marijuana in New Jersey, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana