A New Jersey state panel of doctors recommended expanding the the list of treatable conditions for medical marijuana to include chronic pain, a move that would likely widen the patient pool and boost MMJ sales.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel voted 5-1 to add people suffering from different types of chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety related to autism or Alzheimer’s disease.
Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition of Medical Marijuana New Jersey and a longtime advocate, told the Inquirer the panel’s chronic pain recommendation would boost the state’s potential MMJ patient pool by at least 150,000 people.
One potential obstacle to the panel’s recommendation: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been lukewarm about medical marijuana; and Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett – a Christie appointee – has the final say on whether the conditions list will be expanded.
New Jersey’s MMJ program has been criticized for being too restrictive after it came online in 2010, resulting in a small patient count. But lately the patient count and MMJ sales have been climbing thanks to a series of small changes.