The Medical Marijuana Program Patient Registry begins this week in New Jersey, as the state Department of Health allows qualified patients and their caregivers to apply for identification cards.
“The Department has made every effort to make the process as user friendly as possible,” said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd in a news release. “Registered physicians have had access to the system since July to become familiar with it and have their questions answered.”
The department has a list of more than 100 physicians, including three in Ocean County, authorized to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
All three are in Toms River:
- Dr. Anselm Igbanugo, 54 Bey Lea Road, Toms River
- Dr. James Morales, 1868 Hooper Avenue, Toms River
- Dr. Ashok Patel, 20 Hospital Drive, Suite 12, Toms River
Patients and their doctors can register through the Department of Health medical marijuana registration website.
Doctors can register patients by attesting the patient has one of the "debilitating diseases" on the on the website, which lists diseases that have symptoms proven to be alleviated by marijuana.
According to the release, "If a patient designates a caregiver to assist in the delivery of the medicinal marijuana from the Alternative Treatment Center (ATC), the caregiver must be a New Jersey resident, 18 years of age or older, and may not serve as a caregiver for another patient."
Patient identification cards are obtained by including a patient photograph, proof of residency, a government issued ID, and if applicable documentation of receipt of certain state and federal assistance programs.
The registration fee for patients and caregivers is $200, valid for two years. Patients and caregivers who qualify for certain state and federal assistance programs can pay a reduced registration fee of $20. Payment can be made online.
Ocean County is not the only county with authorized doctors. Three more are in Monmouth, where the Freeholders voted last year to oppose medical marijuana growth on preserved farmland. Members of the board wanted decisions on medical marijuana growth to rest with local governing bodies.
An growth site application intended for Manalapan was filed in Upper Freehold, and denied in November of last year.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana law was signed more than two years ago by then-Governor Jon Corzine. Advocates have criticized delays in implementing the program and releasing the list of doctors.
Medical marijuana has been said to ease symptoms associated with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and muscular dystrophy.