Recognizing that informed consumers are vital to a healthy marketplace, the New Jersey Department of Health is allowing the six permitted Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) to publicly list medical marijuana prices on their websites and social media accounts.
“Medical marijuana patients should benefit from online price information just as shoppers do when they buy a car, a plane ticket or any other consumer goods,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “We hope that ATCs take this opportunity to communicate this information to patients. This is part of our ongoing effort to make the Medicinal Marijuana Program more consumer-friendly for patients and caregivers and less restrictive to ATCs.”
Each ATC can decide what, if any, price information to post on their websites.
“Having ATC products and pricing online makes sense because that is where the vast majority of people get their information these days,” said Jeff Brown, the Assistant Commissioner who oversees the state’s Division of Medicinal Marijuana. “This puts New Jersey’s patients and dispensaries on par with those in nearby states like Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.”
In a letter to the ATCs today, Assistant Commissioner Brown issued clarifying guidance on a long-standing regulation regarding advertising. The guidance states that the price lists that ATCs make available to patients and caregivers can be posted on websites and via social media accounts.
The Murphy Administration has made tremendous strides to expand access to medical marijuana and make it more receptive to patients, caregivers, dispensary owners and physicians. The number of patients participating in the program has nearly doubled—reaching 33,200—and the number of participating doctors participating in the program has grown by 270 as Commissioner Elnahal has completed six Grand Rounds lectures to about 2,000 doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, hospital leaders and students in New Jersey’s medical schools and hospitals.
As part of the sweeping program reforms, fees have been reduced, mobile access has been added, ATCs can now open satellite locations and participating physicians are no longer required to have their names published on the Department of Health’s website. Of the 16,000 patients who have signed up since January, a majority have one of the five medical conditions added at the end of March: anxiety, migraines, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain.
In August, the Department received 146 applications from 103 organizations in response to its request to add up to six additional ATCs — two each in the northern, central and southern part of the state. The Department of Health had notified applicants that it expected to announce the successful applicants on Nov. 1, but additional time is needed to complete a full review of these applications. Each of the reviewers must read more than 40,000 pages of material (each application averages 300 pages). The reviewers are working as quickly as possible, and the Department will announce the successful applicants as soon as the review is complete.