Is Medical Marijuana legal in New Jersey? Technically yes. New Jersey officially voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the November 2020 election, but that does not mean anyone can start growing, using, or distributing cannabis however they choose. On January 1, 2021, adults over the age of 21 will be able to legally use cannabis for recreational purposes. Medical users, however, will still need to have the appropriate qualifying conditions and documentation, namely a medical marijuana card.
What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?
Also known as an MMJ or MMID card, medical marijuana cards allow users to enter licensed dispensaries and purchase products for medicinal use. They are able to purchase different strains of cannabis that target their specific ailments and health conditions, which have been confirmed by a licensed medical doctor. An MMJ in New Jersey also allows someone to grow their own plants at home and order medical marijuana online. In January 2021, New Jersey was the first state to ever legalize cannabis for medical use under the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). Those who are 18 and older can buy medical marijuana from Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs).
How to Get an NJ Medical Marijuana Card
You can apply for an MMJ card in New Jersey online with a fast, free tool. The application process takes around 15 minutes, and there is no charge or payment required unless you are approved. After that, the card costs $99. You must have one of New Jersey’s qualifying conditions and be at least 18-years-old to be approved. Qualifying medical conditions include anxiety disorders, chronic pain, cancer, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and more. You can read the full list on the official site for the state of New Jersey.
A licensed physician must review your case and sign off on the card before it can be administered. You must also discuss the pros and cons of using cannabis as a treatment option for your condition and decide with a physician that it presents more advantages than disadvantages. Medical treatment focuses more on products with CBD, not THC. The intention is not to provide a high or alter the patient’s mindset but instead provide them physical relief from symptoms that interrupt their daily lives.
Do I Need a Card If I Can Just Buy Recreational Marijuana?
While adults over the age of 21 will be able to purchase and consume for personal use, this does not mean that they are able to acquire what they need for appropriate treatment of medical conditions. The type of medical cannabis you buy from a licensed dispensary comes in various forms that have different potencies and associated effects. In New Jersey, approved forms are:
- Topical products
Under this regulation, a medical cannabis patient cannot simply buy and smoke a strain from a dispensary to treat their condition. The processes that take place when a person consumes medical cannabis vs. the recreational drug differ substantially. Someone could experience negative or possibly dangerous side-effects if they do not take the approved dosage and type of cannabis they have been prescribed by a physician.