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Patients Begin Registering For Medical Marijuana In New Jersey

Medical Marijuana (file/credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Medical Marijuana (file/credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

CBS New York (con't)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Patients and caregivers qualified to receive medical marijuana in New Jersey are now able to register for identification cards.

It’s been more than two years since the Garden State passed a law allowing doctors to prescribe the drug.

Patients must be recommended by one of the 150 doctors in 20 counties who are participating in the program in order to register.

WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reports


The limited number of doctors participating in the program could make it difficult for patients to enroll.

“I’ve looked at the doctors who have signed up already, there isn’t one near me, “ Vanessa Waltz, of Princeton, said.

Waltz has stage three breast cancer. She believes the medical marijuana would have less side effects than previous medications she’d been on, including prescription opiates.

Patients with only a handful of conditions — including glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and terminal cancer — qualify for the program.

A registration card is valid for two years and costs $200. Patients on public assistance programs will pay a $20 fee.

Chris Goldstein, a pro-marijuana advocate, believes the regulations of the new program are too restrictive.

“More will be underground buying marijuana than will be registered in the medical marijuana program,” Goldstein said.

The State Department of Health has granted preliminary approval to six non-profit marijuana dispensaries but only one is expected to have the drug available by next month.

The Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair is already growing its first crop.

For more information on the program, click here.