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NJ-CRC Offering Free Digital Medicinal Cannabis Patient Cards Starting Friday

Starting Friday patients and caregivers can request free digital Medicinal Cannabis Patient (MCP) cards from the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC).

NJ-CRC Changes to Boost Medical Cannabis Program

The NJ-CRC announced the change in policy at their meeting in January.

Patients and caregivers will have the free alternative to paying $10 for physical identification cards.

The digital cards will be available in PDF format. It will allow patients to save them on their phones or print them out.

“We are excited to offer free digital medicinal cannabis cards to patients in New Jersey,” said NJ-CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown. “Our goal with this initiative is to improve accessibility and convenience for patients who require medical cannabis for their treatment. By offering digital options, we make it more convenient for patients to receive the care they need.”

The goal is to make it cheaper to become a New Jersey medical cannabis patient. Unfortunately, program enrollment is down to about 88,000 from a peak of about 135,000.

Other state cannabis markets have seen similar declines.

The process for getting a doctor’s approval to become a Medicinal Cannabis Patient and remain is overly lengthy. Doctors in the program don’t follow up on how the medicine works. Most doctors do not prescribe a specific cannabis strain like a real medication. If they tried to prescribe a specific rare strain available at a dispensary one week it might help. But it might be hard to find it the following week without going on a lengthy search.

That is part of why the demand for legalizing cannabis home grow in New Jersey is so high.

Brown said at a legislative cannabis hearing last week the price of seeing a doctor is causing patients to drop out of the program. When asked about the decline, he argued new digital cards helped enrollment numbers elsewhere and should also help here.

Medicinal Cannabis Patient Cards

The process for obtaining a digital medicinal cannabis card for new enrollees will be similar to the one for traditional cards. Once registered in the portal, patients can track their application status, check their authorization period, send messages to Patient Services, and more. Patients and caregivers who are already active in the patient portal can request their digital cards starting today, February 28, for delivery on March 1.

The Medicinal Cannabis Program offers several benefits to patients. Those include priority access to products, patient-only hours and parking. They also can purchase up to 84 grams every 30 days without state sales tax.

While there are benefits to being a Medicinal Cannabis Patient, the product selection and prices for the extra hassle are not great for many.

Quality budtenders at dispensaries can also recommend specific cannabis strains and products for conditions and ailments on the adult-use cannabis side of the market.

The NJ-CRC says it remains committed to ensuring that patients across the state can safely and easily access medical cannabis. Introducing free digital medicinal cannabis cards is another step forward in fulfilling their mission, they said. It establishes and enforces the rules and regulations governing the licensing, cultivation, testing, selling, and purchasing of cannabis in the state.

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