The Murphy Effect
Some are calling it "The Murphy Effect," but ever since New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took office on January 16th of this year, medical marijuana patients have come out in droves, finally comfortable to sign up with the state’s medical marijuana program.
New Jersey Health Commission Dr. Shereef Elnahal recently announced that a total of 4,200 new patients have signed up for the program, reported NJ.Com.
New Jersey has now reached a new milestone: 20,000 people are currently enrolled in its MMJ program.
This figure includes 1,500 who enrolled in the last month, when pro-cannabis Governor Murphy expanded the qualifying medical condition list to include chronic pain and anxiety.
"We're adding 100 new patients every day," said Commissioner Elnahal. "This demonstrates that there was pent-up demand. People with chronic pain now have the option of medicinal marijuana instead of opioids, and more than 100 strains are available."
New Jersey expects those numbers to continue to climb, as the Murphy administration launches a $50,000 media campaign to promote the program. Elnahal will also give lectures around the state this spring to educate physicians about the program.
Besides adding new qualifying illnesses, Murphy changed the program in March by cutting registration and renewal fees from $200 to $100 every two years, with veterans and senior citizens getting an additional $20 discounted fee.
The Murphy administration also eliminated the requirement that doctors enroll in a public state registry to recommend medical marijuana.
Doctors who want to participate in the program can keep their name off the online list of physicians, a change that recognizes some are not ready to shake the stigma of recommending cannabis as a medicine but are willing to get involved at this point.
Approximately 600 physicians are now participating in the program, including 50 physicians who joined in the last month, Elnahal's announcement said.
Congratulations New Jersey! After years of Chris Christy, the sun is shining again.