Some would say it’s long overdue, but finally, it has come to pass. On June 24, 2021, Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, signed into law legislation that allows healthcare workers to authorize the use of marijuana for medical use via telehealth/telemedicine.
A press release indicated that Sen. O’Scanlon Declan and state assemblywomen Joann Downey and Pamela Lampitt sponsored the bill.
This new law allows licensed healthcare providers to authorize medical marijuana on qualified patients through telehealth or telemedicine. However, it is a requirement that telemedicine/telehealth must abide by the standard care required by in-person treatment and assessment.
After a patient is authorized to use medical marijuana, the healthcare provider can decide whether to continue the authorization via telehealth/telemedicine or invite the patient for a face-to-face (in-person) consultation.
According to medical experts, most marijuana patients have mobility problems that make it impossible for them to visit doctors’ offices as frequently as is desired. For this reason, they are left with no option but to rely on telemedicine/telehealth.
The medical experts emphasize that the anxiety reduction, nausea prevention, muscle relaxation, and pain-relief properties of medical marijuana can’t be ignored because they are necessary for patients suffering from acute or severe medical conditions.
Since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, insurers and the federal government have supported virtual visits and have endorsed them for many therapies, including medical marijuana. That explains why over 24 states have temporarily permitted the prescription of medical marijuana via telemedicine. This has boosted the number of patients seeking medical assistance but cannot attend physical sessions. Many health workers and patients are now calling upon the authorities to make this model permanent.
According to two medical experts, Downey and Lampitt, this new law is so much welcome because it will leverage technology to make it easy for people to access medical treatment at reduced costs.
Digital authorization is the best way to enable doctors to provide cannabis patients with medication because most of these patients are certified homebound or developmentally disabled.
Some states considering expanding or enacting medical marijuana access include Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Georgia, Utah, and Virginia.