New Jersey Bills Expand Access to Medical Marijuana


The New Jersey’s Legislature will make medical marijuana more accessible through bills that eliminate the sales tax, expand insurance coverage and allow the dispensing of medical marijuana using telemedicine and telehealth methods. If enacted, the legislation could help reduce the reliance on opioids for injuries such as chronic pain. As of July 2019, over 28% of the state’s 68,000 medical marijuana patients qualified for the program due to chronic pain.

New Jersey’s marijuana legislation will make it easier and cheaper to obtain medical marijuana. This could be a good focus given that information from the National Institute of Drug Abuse shows that in 2017 New Jersey health care providers gave 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons.

The following is a brief summary of the legislation:

  • Assembly Bill No. 610 will make medical marijuana less expensive by exempting it from New Jersey sales and use tax.

  • Assembly Bill No. 1635 will allow medical marijuana to be dispensed through telemedicine and telehealth methods housebound patients. Dispensing medical marijuana using telemedicine and telehealth methods would create an easier way for patients to obtain a certification.

  • Assembly Bill No. 1708, will require workers’ compensation and private passenger auto insurance to cover the cost of medical marijuana when the insured person is qualified due to a debilitating condition and the person tried at least one other treatment.

The legislation states that an insurer’s cost could be reduced for injuries as it will no longer be charged for risky and expensive prescriptions such as opioids. It is unclear how the insurance coverage could technically be executed as payment mechanisms would not be available since marijuana is illegal at the federal level.

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