Senate bill 119 was passed on January 11, 2010. The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law by outgoing Governor John Corzine on January 18, 2010. Initially scheduled to take effect in July of 2010, lawmakers amended the legislation at the request of Governor Chris Christie to delay its implementation until October 1, 2010. While the law requires the state to promulgate regulations for the distribution of cannabis through alternative treatment centers (ATCs), New Jersey has yet to serve a single patient, due to lack of patient cultivation and creation of alternative treatment centers.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services released draft rules for the program outlining the registration and application process in October of 2010. Finding these rules to be too restrictive, the New Jersey State Legislature ultimately sent them back to Governor Christie, ordering him to write the proposed regulations.
The law establishes the need for up to six state licensed alternative treatment centers. In the Spring of 2011, Governor Christie placed this process on hold indefinitely until he can get some "clarity" on the situation regarding the position of the federal government on medical cannabis dispensaries and alternative treatment centers.
Should the centers open, their services will be available to patients with the following conditions, as long as these conditions have already proven resistant to conventional medical therapy: seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; or glaucoma; positive status for HIV/AIDS or cancer that result in severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome results from the treatment thereof; amytrohpic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease; terminal illness if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life; or any other medical condition or its treatment that is approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services by regulation. Patients are allowed two ounces every 30 days. No self-cultivation is permitted.
While the registration process for patients and caregivers has not yet been determined, a primary caregiver must be a resident of New Jersey who is 18 years of age or older and who has never been convicted of a felony drug offense. A primary caregiver shall only have one qualifying patient at any one time. There is no reciprocity for out of state patients or caregivers.
Senator Nicholas Scutari submitted a Concurrent Resolution 140 from the Senate on December 20, 2011 stating that the "Board of Medical Examiners proposed medicinal marijuana program rules are inconsistent with legislative intent." The Department of Health and Senior Services released new, yet still restrictive, rules regarding the medicinal marijuana program on February 3, 2011.