HomeNewsFees Slashed For New Jersey Medical Cannabis Patients

Fees Slashed For New Jersey Medical Cannabis Patients

In its final public meeting for 2023, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) voted to approve slashing registration and renewal fees for patients and their caregivers enrolled or enrolling in the state’s medical cannabis program.

As of last week, the cost for registering and renewing fell to just $10 for two years – down from as much as $50 a year. Furthermore, the Commission will provide free digital ID cards for any patient or caregiver that opts for a digital- only patient ID from early next year. From that point, only those who wish to have a physical card will need to pay the $10 for registration or renewal, or $5 for a replacement.

“Many patients face barriers to accessing treatment due to costs, like paying out of pocket for doctor’s visits and the cost of cannabis,” said NJ-CRC executive director Jeff Brown. “NJ-CRC is doing everything in our power to eliminate as many barriers as possible to ensure those who can benefit from cannabis treatment remain in the program.”

The state’s medical program is feeling the pinch from legal recreational cannabis.

An amendment to the state constitution legalizing cannabis came into effect on January 1, 2021. In April 2022, licensed recreational sales of cannabis began in the state. And has been the case in a number of jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana; this has had a negative impact on the state’s medical program.

According to statistics from the NJ-CRC, program participation as at mid-November this year:

  • Total patients: 93,924
  • Caregivers: 5,372
  • Doctors: 1,538

The total number of registered patients has dropped significantly and rapidly from a high of 129,369 in May 2022 – a month after licensed recreational sales began.

Medical cannabis sales dropped from $61,138,231 in Q3 2022 to $32,883,539 in Q2 2023. Meanwhile, recreational marijuana sales jumped from $116,572,533 to $160,205,269 over the same timeframe.

In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June this year, New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association (NJCTA) Executive Director Todd Johnson said:

“There are currently medical only ATCs desperate to expand their operations into the adult use market given the severe drop in medical cannabis sales.”

In addition to reduced patient and caregiver registration and renewal fees, there are other benefits under the state’s medical program such as discounts, waived taxes and higher purchase limits. In New Jersey, retail sales of recreational cannabis and cannabis products are subject to Sales and Use Tax, which is currently set at a rate of 6.625%. As of July 1, 2022, retail sales of medical cannabis were no longer subject to Sales and Use Tax.

Gillian Jalimnson
Gillian Jalimnson is one of Hemp Gazette's staff writers and has been with us since we kicked off in 2015. Gillian sees massive potential for cannabis in areas of health, energy, building and personal care products and is intrigued by the potential for cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative to conventional treatments. You can contact Gillian here.

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