New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

Gov. Murphy won his election in November with marijuana reform being a centerpiece of his campaign. Today, he ordered a review that could grant greater access for the state’s medical marijuana program.

Trenton, NJ- New Jersey is expected by many to become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. Newly sworn in Governor Phil Murphy claimed he would be willing to sign a legalization bill while on the campaign trail.

While Murphy has not yet ushered in the era of recreational marijuana in New Jersey just yet, he has just announced a plan that could expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Murphy has ordered a 60-day review of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and is considering allowing additional dispensaries to open, expanding the two-ounce patient limit, and allowing home delivery in order to expand patient access.

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New Jersey’s previous governor, Chris Christie, was known for his anti-marijuana views. Christie fought back against advocates looking to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

Murphy is seeking to take a different approach and says his approach to marijuana will represent “a very stark difference from the previous administration. It’s past time (patients) be given the compassion they deserve.”

“We cannot turn a deaf ear to our veterans, the families of children facing terminal illness, or to any of the other countless New Jerseyans who only wish to be treated like people, and not criminals,” Murphy said while signing the order. “And, doctors deserve the ability to provide their patients with access to medical marijuana free of stigmatization.”

Ken Wolski, the executive director for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, is encouraged by the governor’s action and hopes more patients are granted safe access to relief.

“I’m very pleased the governor has taken such a strong stand to expand the program,” Wolski said. “Eight years into the program, we have 15,000 patients. In a state with 9 million people, this program is really a failure.”

This could be just the first step in a series of reform measures for New Jersey’s marijuana laws. Momentum to expand their medical marijuana program as well as legalizing recreational use is building. Fellow northeast state Vermont just legalized recreational marijuana yesterday after Governor Phil Scott signed H.511 into law.

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