Vitale, Scutari Bill to Expand the State’s Medical Marijuana Program Clears Senate

Trenton – The state’s medical marijuana program would be vastly expanded under the terms of legislation that cleared the Senate today.

Sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale, the chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, and Senator Nicholas Scutari, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill would transform what was one of the more restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country into one that is accessible, affordable and that better serves the needs of patients.

“This will entirely overhaul the way New Jersey manages medical marijuana. Marijuana has proven to be a safe and effective treatment of a large variety of ailments, from chronic pain to migraines. This bill will help those in need by removing barriers to access for patients, it gives doctors and other caregivers the ability to make use of the medicinal qualities of cannabis and will make these important products more affordable,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “The current restrictions are unreasonable and it is time health care providers are able to offer their patients these effective, often safer, treatments.”

The bill, A-10/S-10, would allow medical use for a more extensive list of diagnosed conditions, increase the number of dispensaries, expand the list of professionals who can authorize patients for the medical use of cannabis, increase access to caregivers, increase the amount of medical cannabis that patients could obtain and end the state tax on cannabis used for medicinal purposes on January 1, 2025. It would also establish a five member Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

“The restrictiveness of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is why I produced the initial legislation for reforms in the Senate. The medicinal benefits of cannabis are undeniable, and would enhance the quality of life for many in our state,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “Doctors and patients should not be prevented from utilizing cannabis for its medicinal properties, especially if it is the most effective option to treat an ailment. It is imperative for New Jersey to see these reforms become law so we can bring relief to those that are unjustifiably suffering in our state.”

The legislation was passed by the full Senate by a vote of 33-4.