New Jersey’s extremely small patient pool may soon get a boost, which would be a welcome development for the three operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
On Wednesday, Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd confirmed that she’s considering expanding the list of qualifying medical conditions for MMJ, according to the Courier-Post. As of the end of 2014, only about 3,600 patients had received permits to purchase MMJ in the two years since the program launched.
Currently, New Jersey allows for patients with just eight medical ailments to obtain MMJ, as well as the terminally ill with life expectancy under 12 months.
A spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey estimated that the patient pool could expand by 100,000 if chronic pain were added to the list of qualifying conditions. The group is also pushing to add post-traumatic stress disorder.
O’Dowd plans to gather a group of medical experts to make recommendations on the subject, but didn’t specify on Wednesday which ailments may be added.
The issue was triggered by the release of the state’s second annual report on the New Jersey MMJ program, which was released on Tuesday. The report found that while one dispensary was open almost every day in 2014, another served patients less than seven days on average per month. Two more dispensaries are reportedly on track to open later this year, and a sixth is still in the works.