BY JESSIE GILL
STEP 1: IF YOU QUALIFY, GATHER YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS PROVING THAT YOU HAVE A QUALIFYING CONDITION.
STEP 2: FIND A NEW JERSEY MARIJUANA DOCTOR.
In NJ, only specially registered physicians are able to write prescriptions for marijuana. Go to the NJ MMP website and schedule an appointment with a doctor on the list.
YOU’LL FIND TWO TYPES OF DOCTORS:
Clinics that openly accept new patients. It generally takes 3-months of visits before they can write the prescription for medical marijuana, this means you have to go to see them each month, three times in a row and on the third visit they can write a prescription. This is how they legally establish a “bona fide” doctor-patient relationship as required by NJ state law. (Morphine, however, a doctor can prescribe during the first visit with no limits).
Some doctors will only accept new patients based on a referral from a physician they know. Some of these doctors will write a prescription for marijuana on the first visit (only some). Getting an appointment with one of those doctors is more challenging. Your best bet is to ask the specialist who diagnosed your qualifying condition, or your general care practitioner.
After you receive your prescription, you will need to return to the doctor every three months to have it renewed.
Remember, medical insurance does not cover any doctor visit or medication associated with cannabis. You must pay out of pocket on the day of your visit. Here’s the range of prices I’ve noticed around central NJ, feel free to share your experience in the comments.
Initial Doctor Consultation: $300-$350
Subsequent Visits: $150-$200.
[That means, if you have to see the doctor three times before the prescription, you’ll pay at least $500 before you even get the prescription. Remember, none of this is covered by insurance.]
STEP 3: GO SEE THE MARIJUANA DOCTOR
Be sure to bring your identification and all medical records relating to your qualifying condition.
Count on it being a fairly long visit. There will be a history and physical portion, and a lengthy online NJ state registration form that the physician must complete online.
At the end of the visit, the doctor will give you two things:
- An individual patient reference number
- An attending physician’s statement/Prescription
- You need these documents in order to apply for your card.
STEP 4: GO HOME (OR SOMEWHERE WITH INTERNET ACCESS). COMPLETE APPLICATION.
Don’t get too excited, you can’t pick up your weed just yet. But now that the state of NJ has determined that you are both:
medically screwed-up enough to desperately require cannabis, and
privileged enough to pay for it (because NJ’s MMJ Program is prohibitively expensive)
You can finally apply for a medical marijuana card.
YOU WILL NEED INTERNET ACCESS AND THE ABILITY TO UPLOAD DOCUMENTS IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION.
(Tip: a high-quality photo from a good camera phone may substitute for a scanner).
Follow these instructions from the NJ MMP website to complete the online application for your medical marijuana card. Scans or photos of the following documents must be submitted:
Passport style photograph with a white background. (No glasses or hats.) Tip: A selfie in front of a white wall works fine.
Government issued photo ID
Proof of New Jersey Residency (Utility bill and tax documents accepted)
*Documentation of Government Assistance (If applicable)
*Patients receiving government assistance qualify for a reduced registration fee for a medical marijuana card.
STEP 5: PAYMENT FOR YOUR CARD
WHAT’S ANOTHER $200.00?
Once your application is completed, submitted, and approved, you will receive an email. The email gives you permission to PAY for your medical marijuana card. That’s another $200.00. The email will contain a link that will take you to a site where you can pay using a credit card.
*MMP Patients on public assistance can apply for a reduced payment of $20.00 for their marijuana card. Proof documentation must be submitted with initial application. See application instructions.
STEP 6: RECEIVE YOUR CARD & SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE DISPENSARY.
After your payment is processed, the state will send you your medical marijuana card in the mail. Contact the dispensary you selected on your application to schedule an appointment.
Green CulturED Cannabis College
STEP 7: BUY YOUR WEED. SMOKE/EAT/VAPORIZE YOUR WEED. FEEL BETTER.
Yes, you still actually have to buy the weed, so I hope your bank account isn’t empty yet. And it’s not cheap.
In NJ, medical marijuana is sold in quarter ounce denominations. According to this article, the average cost of medical marijuana is about $122.00 per quarter ounce.
Prices vary according to dispensary and some dispensaries offer discounts for low-income patients.
How much weed you need varies from patient-to-patient. I use approximately one and a half ounces per month, depending on the strain.
Honestly, its sickeningly expensive and a pain-in-the-ass, but medical marijuana is one of the best things to happen to me in years, so if you can do it, I encourage it.