How to Get an MMJ Card in New Jersey [2022 Guide]

Overview
The medical marijuana program of New Jersey is for patients with certain illnesses and conditions. Check our guide to see if you qualify. If you're interested in obtaining a New Jersey MMJ card, contact your state health department and comply with all directives.
State Program
Approved on
January 18, 2010
Online Application
Yes
MD Evaluation
Required
Yes
Card Validity
24Months
Patient Registry fee
$100
Phone:
609-292-0424
Official Gov Site:
njmmp.nj.gov/njmmp

CONSULTATION FEE RANGE

  • $200-$300

MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS

  • MAXIMUM OF 3 OUNCES IN 30 DAYS

HOME CULTIVATION?

  • NO

MINIMUM AGE LIMIT

  • 18

LIST OF QUALIFYING CONDITIONS FOR A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD IN NEW JERSEY

  • Anxiety
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic pain related to a musculoskeletal disorder or of ‘visceral’ origin
  • ALS
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Terminal illness with a prognosis of less than a year to live
  • An inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD
  • Intractable skeletal, muscular spasticity
  • A seizure disorder including epilepsy

The medical marijuana law in New Jersey was once rather complicated. However, the legalization of recreational weed in the state will soon make it easier to purchase the substance. Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation into law on February 22, 2021, allowing people aged 21+ to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. However, recreational sales have yet to begin officially.

This news comes well over a decade after Governor Jon Corzine made MMJ legal on his final day in office. On January 18, 2010, he signed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act into law. It allowed medical cannabis for individuals with one of a select group of illnesses.

In 2011, the state had the strictest medical marijuana law of the 16 states that had legalized the substance back then. The first dispensary didn’t exist in New Jersey until December 2012. In 2017, the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel increased the list of qualifying conditions, and things have snowballed from there.

Although the state will soon allow legal recreational sales, it is still worth getting a New Jersey medical marijuana card. This guide shows you how to get one.

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Should I Join the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program?

Suppose you have a qualifying condition and want to get your hands on MMJ quickly. In that case, the answer is a definitive ‘YES.’ Since Governor Murphy signed the adult-use legislation, over 70% of NJ’s municipalities have banned the sale of marijuana.

As the state’s cannabis industry as a whole remains in its infancy, local officials are holding off on allowing recreational sales. This will likely change soon, but for now, there is no way to buy weed without an MMJ card in New Jersey legally.

medical-marijuanas-card-nj

On the plus side, there is no penalty for possessing up to six ounces of marijuana in the state. If caught with more, the punishment is a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to 18 months in prison.

The distribution of under an ounce without the requisite license is also not considered a crime. However, if you distribute more than an ounce, you could spend up to five years in jail. A second offense for selling even a tiny amount of weed may result in a prison term of 18 months.

The cultivation of more than an ounce of marijuana but less than five pounds (10 plants) is punishable by up to five years in prison. Even individuals with a medical marijuana card cannot grow the plant at home. However, they can access their medicine from one of the dispensaries within the state. Therefore, for now, you need to join the NJ Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) to access the substance legally.

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey

Before we begin, it is essential to note that only patients aged 18+ may apply. You must also have proof of ID, which shows you are a New Jersey resident. Minors can also attain an MMJ card. However, they need a designated legal guardian and written confirmation from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist. Applicants also need to have one of the qualifying conditions.

Step 1 – Visit a Physician

The first step is to visit a doctor registered with the New Jersey Department of Health. This physician will perform your marijuana evaluation and decide if you warrant a written recommendation.

The doctor will take a detailed medical history and review your medical records. They also perform a physical exam and discuss whether you qualify for medical marijuana under state law.

When you visit the doctor, make sure you bring your complete medical records. You can also expect to provide a urine sample because the physician wants to see if you’re using other drugs.

Step 2 – Follow-Up Visit

New Jersey is different from many states’ MMJ processes. Prospective patients must embark on a follow-up visit, usually scheduled one week from your first meeting. The doctor reviews the drug test results (a positive result for THC-COOH metabolites is not expected) and establishes the correct monthly dose of weed. Typically, this ranges from half an ounce to three ounces, depending on the patient.

Please note that the physician will ask you to designate an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC), which is a marijuana dispensary. You can only register with a single ATC at any time. However, you also have the option of changing your ATC registration at any time at no extra charge.

Step 3 – Register with the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program

In New Jersey, you must have a bona fide relationship with the physician before they can provide you with a written recommendation. Once you have a doctor’s certification, it is time to register with the state medical marijuana program. Fill in the required information, which is highlighted with a red asterisk. You also need the unique Patient Reference Number your physician gives you upon approval.

You must upload the following documents:

  • A patient photograph; and a photo of your caregiver if applicable.
  • A government-issued ID such as a driving license or a New Jersey County ID card.
  • Proof of current state residency, such as a utility bill in the last 90 days. The program accepts gas, electric, cellphone, sewer, or cable bills.
  • Proof of government assistance such as Social Security Disability benefits if applicable.
  • You may also need to download the caregiver criminal background check form.

The program will review your application and documentation and respond via email. You should receive instructions on completing the form. Once notified of the fee amount, you can go back to the registry’s homepage and click on payment. If your application is denied, you will receive instructions on how to amend the application but receive no refund.

Step 4 – Visit Your Physician Again

Once you begin using cannabis, you must arrange for another follow-up doctor’s visit. They will monitor your progress and may decide to change the dose as they would with any prescription drug. Incidentally, when you visit a dispensary for the first time, you will probably go through an orientation session. It can last up to 20 minutes.

The budtenders in NJ dispensaries are extremely helpful and can provide you with the right strain for your needs.

Unfortunately, an ounce of marijuana in New Jersey is among the most expensive in the country. Although you can get mid-range weed for $350 an ounce, top-shelf strains can cost up to $500+! You can also purchase paraphernalia such as a pipe or vape pen at these stores.

Governor Phil Murphy hopes to cut the overall cost to help the growing number of MMJ patients in New Jersey. The state government will require for-profit companies to show how they intend to cut prices before entering the marketplace.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in NJ?

Once you submit your application, the state has up to 30 days to review your application. If you’re approved, the Department of Health (DOH) will get in touch via email with all the relevant information. Once you’re approved and pay the $100 registration fee, you can expect to receive your MMJ card in 7-10 business days.

Upon receiving your card, please note that it is valid for two years. However, you must visit a physician for re-evaluation every 90 days. These consultations usually cost $100. If you don’t complete this process, you remain registered for the program but cannot legally buy marijuana.

new jersey medical marijuana card

Doctors can also discharge patients who skip follow-up visits. In addition, you must complete recertification each year by visiting a licensed doctor and paying the associated costs.

If the above process seems daunting and you’re seeking assistance, consider using the services of a company like Veriheal. This organization enables you to book an appointment with a licensed NJ physician. You even have the option of seeing the doctor in-person or online.

Apart from the registration fee, you pay $199 to Veriheal with a money-back guarantee if you’re not approved.

Other Information on the New Jersey Medical Marijuana License Process

Here are the answers to some common questions about medical marijuana in New Jersey:

Where Can I Find a Physician to Recommend Me for MMJ?

You can click here to find a doctor registered with the state’s marijuana program. Remember, you can only register with one Alternative Treatment Center (ATC), although this may change in the future.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in New Jersey?

At the time of writing, there are 23 registered dispensaries in New Jersey, which are owned by 10 operators. However, in December 2021, the state approved the opening of 30 more marijuana dispensaries in preparation for the launch of recreational sales.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

Medical marijuana is packaged in one-quarter or one-eighth denominations. Your physician determines the proper dosage. However, three ounces is the maximum amount an MMJ patient can purchase in 30 days. There is one exception; physicians can prescribe unlimited quantities of marijuana for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Also, you can’t possess more than three ounces at a time. After your 30, 60, or 90-day certification expires, you must make an appointment with your physician so they can re-assess your condition.

Where Can I Use MMJ in New Jersey?

It is only legal to use medical marijuana in a private residence.

Can I Register a Caregiver?

Yes, an MMJ patient can select a caregiver to buy the substance on their behalf. A patient can assign up to two caregivers. An elected caregiver must be at least 18 years old and a resident of New Jersey. They must also undergo a background check and pay a $100 registration fee.

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Does New Jersey Have a Reciprocity Program?

Yes. New Jersey now recognizes the MMJ cards of other states. Patients registered under their home state’s medical marijuana programs receive reciprocity under NJ’s MMP for up to six months while visiting. However, transporting the substance across state lines remains a federal offense. When buying marijuana in any state, please remember that you cannot bring it with you to another state.

Final Thoughts on How to Get a New Jersey Medical Marijuana Card

Now that New Jersey has legalized recreational marijuana, things have changed significantly. It seems likely that adult-use sales will begin sooner rather than later.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for a New Jersey MMJ card if you’re eligible. Medical marijuana patients can purchase and possess larger amounts than their recreational counterparts. MMJ will be cheaper due to lower taxes, and individuals aged 18-20 with the card are legally allowed to buy weed.

Then again, the certification process remains expensive, as does the general cost of marijuana. Perhaps the increase in available dispensaries as part of the new recreational program will reduce prices.

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