New Jersey Passes Law to Reduce Medical Cannabis Costs

Financial support is provided for children, the elderly and victims of crime in need of treatment.

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June 15, 2021 3 minutes to read

This story originally appeared on Benzinga

The New Jersey Senate Health Committee passed Medical Cannabis Bill (S3799) on Thursday to provide financial assistance programs for children, seniors and crime victims in need of medical cannabis treatment, nj.com reported.

The Garden State has one of the most expensive medical cannabis programs in the country, with an ounce costing anywhere from $ 350 to $ 500 on average. This can be explained by the slow development of the state’s medical marijuana program, which minimized competition while demand skyrocketed, according to the outlet.

Because health insurance does not cover the cost of medical cannabis because it is still federally illegal, many patients in need cannot afford to pay for it themselves.

“The cost of medical cannabis is just out of reach for some people,” said Senator Joe Vitale, who sponsored the bill, during the hearing. “In most cases, this would be someone who would qualify for financial reasons or because of an injury suffered.”

Related: Fuhgettaboutit! New Jersey legalizes weed

The details

The bill, tabled in May and passed by an Assembly committee last week, calls for funding to cover the cost of medical cannabis. This includes:

  • Catastrophic illness in the children’s aid fund
  • Pharmaceutical Aid for Elderly and Disabled People (PAAD)
  • Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program
  • Compensation Office for Victims of Crime (VCCO)

It is important to note that while each fund should help cover the costs under the bill, it does not require full coverage. For example, PAAD and the Seniors Program would reimburse pharmacies for medical cannabis products after a patient pays a co-payment or provides as much as possible, nj.com reported.

In addition, crime victims are also protected by this law, which allows them to be reimbursed for medical cannabis costs.

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission and Human Services Commissioner will likely set a 30-day limit on the amount eligible for the PAAD and Senior Gold programs.

Related: Yes, medical cannabis works. So why deny the anecdotal evidence?

It does not interfere with federal law

Another bill sponsored by Rep. Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) stated that reimbursement of medical cannabis expenses should not violate federal law because the programs selected under the bill are government-administered.

“These programs serve those who are often at least financially distressed,” Conaway said during the committee hearing. “The goal is to ensure that the benefits of medical cannabis are available to all who may need it.”

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