Having my medical cannabis card means I can legally buy the best cannabis products in my state and take advantage of a handful of patient benefits.
As a New Jersey resident, getting your card is simple and worthwhile for most patients.
Keep reading to find out the easiest way to get your medical marijuana card in NJ.
NJ Medical Marijuana Program History
New Jersey medical marijuana was first approved in 2010. Governor Jon Corzine signed S. 119 into law on his very last day in office.
This bill, otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, permitted the use of medical marijuana for people with certain listed conditions.
The conditions on the original list were:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
- Severe muscle spasms
- Muscular dystrophy
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Any other terminal illness
The law also allowed the New Jersey Health Department to add other illnesses to the list as they see fit.
The following Governor, Chris Christie, was vocal about his dislike for the New Jersey medical marijuana program. By 2011, New Jersey was known for having the strictest medical marijuana law out of the 16 states that permitted it at the time.
For example, patients had to get verified for medical eligibility for the program four times a year.
By 2018, the state had 6 dispensaries where medical marijuana patients could buy their medicine. In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act expansion measure which greatly expanded the program.
New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Commission
The new act created a Medical Cannabis Commission. They oversee the supervision of the medical cannabis program now instead of the state health department.
This has greatly changed the way medical marijuana works in New Jersey. Since 2018 access has greatly improved.
Now there are more medical cannabis providers, including physician assistants and ARNPs who can recommend it. And a pathway for even more to open in the future.
And it is easier for patients to obtain medical cannabis. The requirement for physician verifications dropped from four times to once a year.
It also increased the possession limits. They went from 2 ounces of marijuana to 3 ounces of marijuana every 18 months. And it placed no limits on terminally ill patients.
It also made it easier for caregivers to access and manage marijuana on behalf of their patients.
And it made it possible for patients visiting New Jersey to buy medicine while in the state for up to six months.
Another great thing this legislation did was start to phase out state sales taxes. Now patients can save with lower taxes when buying their medicine at dispensaries. As of July 1, 2022, no more state taxes are imposed.
Now in New Jersey, you can buy up to 3 ounces for every 30-day period with no taxes!
You still have to get a cannabis recommendation from your medical marijuana provider certified to practice in New Jersey. Ultimately, it is up to them to determine your dosage.
Then with this order, you can pick up your medication. You or a caregiver will have to go to one of the state-licensed dispensaries (or Alternative Treatment Centers) in the state.
To make a purchase you need to carry your New Jersey medical marijuana card at all times. Your medication must be in its original labeled packaging.
Medical cannabis and medical cannabis products allowed for use in compliance with the program include:
- Dried flower
- Concentrated oils
- Other chewable forms
- Sublingual forms of medical marijuana patients
Traditional food-based edibles, like the ones you can easily make at home, are not included.
You can smoke your medicinal cannabis outside of your house. But you have to comply with New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act. This act prohibits smoking of any kind in most public spaces.
What Qualifies for a Medical Card in NJ
Just like there are some steps you need to go through to get your medical card in New Jersey, there are a few specific requirements to qualify.
You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for the program. Anyone under 18 must have a caregiver in order to receive their card.
Related Read: Under 18 Medical Card
You also need to be able to prove New Jersey residency.
And you will need a diagnosis of one of the qualifying medical conditions approved by the program.
Also, you need to have and maintain a bona fide relationship with a physician. They need to be registered with the program.
This means your medical marijuana provider must have an ongoing responsibility for the care and treatment of your debilitating medical condition.
New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Caregivers
If you are unable to complete the application process yourself or are a minor you can have a registered caregiver help you.
Caregivers are adults at least 18 years of age or older. They are responsible for assisting a patient with their medical marijuana access and treatment.
You can have up to two different designated caregivers. They must register prior to handling medical cannabis on your behalf.
You are able to choose your own caregiver. They are usually a trustworthy friend or family member. All caregivers must get a medical cannabis program identification card. They do this by going through the same registration process as patients.
If your caregiver is not an immediate family member they must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. After they start their online registration process they will get the fingerprinting forms. For approval, they can’t have a felony drug offense conviction.
The caregiver ID card registration fee is $100. But there is a reduced fee of $20 for eligible applicants.
If you can prove that you are over the age of 65, a military veteran, or receive certain forms of government assistance like supplemental security income or social security disability then you may qualify.
Parents and guardians of minor patients do not need to pay any fee.
The use of medical marijuana is permitted on school grounds or at school-sponsored events for authorized students. They must enroll in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Regional Schools.
A parent, guardian, or primary caregiver are the only individuals that can administer medical marijuana to their child. But a student who is 18 or older may self-administer medical marijuana in accordance with the policy.
The main stipulations are that students must not smoke medicinal marijuana or vape it.
You cannot grow your own medical marijuana in New Jersey. Even with a valid medical marijuana card, it is not permitted. You must purchase it from a licensed dispensary or alternative treatment center.
NJ Medical Marijuana Conditions
The State of New Jersey has a list of approved conditions that are cleared for medical marijuana, as long as your physician agrees treatment with marijuana could help.
The qualifying medical conditions list now includes:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Chronic pain
- HIV positive and/or AIDS
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Opioid Use Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Terminal illness (prognosis of <12 months remaining)
- Tourette Syndrome
How To Get Medical Marijuana Card In NJ
Getting a medical marijuana card in New Jersey can seem daunting. But the process can be very simple. There are just a few things you have to do.
In order to become a medical marijuana patient in New Jersey, you need to see a licensed medical marijuana doctor, physician assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner with a physical practice located in the state.
You must meet with them (online or offline) to see if you are eligible to use medical marijuana for your health condition.
If you are, they will provide you with a recommendation.
Then, you need to apply for the New Jersey medical marijuana program.
To do this you will need to enter all of your details into the state’s government website. The registration fee to become a New Jersey medical marijuana patient is $100.
But just like registered caregivers, patients who receive certain types of government assistance may qualify for a reduced fee of $20.
If approved by the state of NJ you will move on to waiting for your card in the mail.
There is no way to get your NJ medical marijuana card without completing these steps. But you do have some freedom to choose how you get them done.
You can go through the hassle of getting your medical marijuana recommendation offline. Or you can make it easy on yourself and get your recommendation letter online.
Completing the process online is much cheaper and faster than finding a brick-and-mortar doctor’s office. You don’t have to drive anywhere or wait in line to be seen and obtain your New Jersey medical marijuana card recommendation.
And, the most well-established online services have money-back guarantees. This means if for some reason you don’t get approved it costs you absolutely nothing.
How To Get A NJ Medical Marijuana Card Online
Like I said, getting an NJ medical marijuana card online is simple.
There are entire telehealth platforms dedicated to doing just this. They staff licensed medical marijuana doctors, customer support staff, and others to make sure that people have an easy way to access their medicine.
Getting your medical card recommendation online can be as quick as just a couple of minutes. The recommendation lasts for an entire year.
Here’s an outline of the process:
To start, you need to register online with Leafwell or Veriheal to make an appointment to see a licensed medical marijuana doctor.
- Apply within 10 minutes!
- Connect with a board certified physician
- Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
You need to provide your general information to do this, but don’t worry. Both platforms use secure, HIPAA-compliant software that protects your information.
You will pay your online consultation fee, but your card won’t actually be charged if you don’t get approved. You will meet with your physician online and speak with them about your medical history and medical marijuana as a treatment option.
As long as you are approved you will receive your doctor’s certificate. This is the recommendation letter you need to apply to the state program.
Once you have your letter you can complete your application on the New Jersey government website.
Before you register, you need to have the reference number given to you by your doctor. Also, identify which alternative treatment center is closest to you. You need to let the state know where you will purchase your medical cannabis doses.
You also need to have a recent, full-face photo of yourself and a valid government-issued photo ID to apply. The picture needs to be a maximum of 60 days before you apply. Take it against a white background with a neutral expression and eyes open.
Your photo ID must be unexpired and your name and address must match what is on your application. You will also need to have proof of New Jersey residency. For this you can use one of the following items:
- Utility bill from the last 90 days
- W-2, or other IRS form from the last year (except forms 1040 or 1095)
- Property tax bill or other federal, state, or local government correspondence issued within the last 90 days
- Last three monthly bank statements
As long as you have this information on the ready you can apply to New Jersey to become a medical marijuana patient. Don’t forget you will also have to pay the $100 fee at this time, or the reduced fee if you qualify.
After you complete your state application you can wait for approval. Once approved you will get your card in the mail.
In the meantime, you can log into your NJ account to update your contact information, add or change a caregiver, or view your authorization period. This is also where you will go to renew your identification card or replace a lost or stolen card.
Your new medical marijuana card is valid for two years. But you need to recertify with your medical marijuana doctor every year.
New Jersey Medical Card Online Service Providers
They both service NJ medical marijuana patients. And they both have get-approved-or-get-your-money-back guarantees.
Leafwell is usually the best option when it comes to affordability. They charge $149 for a New Jersey medical marijuana card and you can get 10% off by using our NATUREANDBLOOM coupon.
Veriheal costs $199 to meet with a physician online and obtain a recommendation in New Jersey. But you can get $10 off with the code NB10. And if you sign up with a friend you may be able to get even more discounts!
There are a few other noteworthy benefits to using an online service like one of the two above. Not only will it save you time and money, but it will also provide you with excellent resources to make your experience as a medical patient as positive as possible.
Leafwell has extensive resources for new patients to learn the basics of cannabis.
And they shine bright when it comes to state-specific information. You can easily browse through articles and state laws to help you feel confident about your treatment.
Veriheal also has a ton of information available to help you become a well-informed patient. Where they shine is with superb customer service that is available around the clock.
Seriously, they have 24/7 customer support so if you have any questions no matter the time of day or night someone will be available to help you.
You can call or email them. Or you can use the chat feature on their site. Someone usually responds within a minute or two and they will stay on the chat with you until you have your answers.
Related Read: Veriheal Compared To Leafwell
Benefits of Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card In New Jersey
It is well worth your while to get a medical card in New Jersey.
A huge benefit that comes with being a cardholder is that the state has now fully phased out taxes for medicinal marijuana patients. This means patients will save as much as 7% in taxes which is about the amount that recreational users pay.
You can also access medical marijuana sooner than recreational users, as the legal age limit for a patient is 18 years old. If you are not a patient you must wait until 21 to purchase marijuana from a dispensary.
You can access more products, including ones higher in THC concentrations. And you can possess more of them at a time. Patients are allowed up to three ounces, whereas recreational users are only allowed one ounce every 30 days.
The cannabis you purchase from an alternative treatment center will be labeled with a permit number. It will also have a clear product description on the label along with the quantity of the contents inside.
Before products are sent to the dispensary they are tested for pests, pesticides, heavy metals, and contaminants like mold and mildew. The center that is selling the products is required to pay for the costs of all lab analyses for your safety.
Medical marijuana patients can also benefit from state protection. For example, as of 2021 New Jersey state law dictates employers can’t refuse to hire or take any adverse action against employees just because they use medical marijuana.
But keep in mind that you have to be in compliance with other state laws. And those working for the federal government are not protected by New Jersey medical marijuana laws.
New Jersey also has medical marijuana reciprocity. This means that they recognize valid cards issued in other states.
Visiting patients over the age of 21 can purchase cannabis from a licensed medical dispensary with a valid ID.
They just need to get a temporary New Jersey patient registration first. They can do this by consulting with a registered New Jersey health care practitioner.
Visiting patients need to provide a current copy of their registration from their home state. Temporary IDs are valid for six months and cannot be renewed.
And your card will be recognized by other states that also practice reciprocity. The states you can travel to and use your medical cannabis card in are:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- US Virgin Islands
- Washington, D.C.
Keep in mind you will need to follow their state-specific laws.
Some states only recognize cards if your qualifying condition is recognized by their program as a qualifying condition. You may not be able to purchase cannabis when visiting these states. But you may be protected by their medical marijuana laws while visiting.
You should call the state you plan to visit to check their medical program specifics.
Lastly, special dispensary deals might be available to patients. You can often get better customer service, more assistance with your medication, and extra deals when shopping as a patient.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your Medical Card In New Jersey
On average it will take 7-10 days to receive your New Jersey medical marijuana card in the mail. But this is not always the case.
Unfortunately, it can take up to 30 days for some people to finally receive their cards. If you have been waiting for more than 30 days contact the program to make sure there are no issues that need resolving.
Wrapping Up NJ Medical Card
What was once known as the state with the strictest medical marijuana program, New Jersey is making big strides to increase ease of access to their patients.
Even though recreational cannabis use is now allowed, it is the best choice to get your medical cannabis card. You don’t want to miss out on the benefits like no taxes, better products, and higher possession limits.
- Apply within 10 minutes!
- Connect with a board certified physician
- Your money back if you’re unsuccessful with your application
Check out Leafwell or Veriheal to schedule your online appointment today.