The New Jersey State Department of Health has finally approved medical cannabis delivery, a long awaited move that is intended to better serve those patients who are unable to leave their home due to medical reasons or because they feel unsafe traveling to an ATC (Alternative Treatment Center) during the COVID-19 crisis.
By issuing a waiver, the Department of Health has given blanket approval to all 11 state licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, also known as Alternative Treatment Centers, who will be able to use their employees to deliver medicine to any patients who have gone through prior evaluation. Each delivery must follow a strict set of guidelines and will be on an appointment only basis effective immediately.
The only requirement for each Alternative Treatment Center to begin delivery is the completion of newly established paperwork with the Department of Health. Once the set of documents has been completed and submitted, deliveries can commence.
Here are the guidelines as written by the New Jersey State Department of Health:
- To help patients acquire medicinal marijuana safely and reduce trips to ATC's during the public health emergency, as approved by the Department, an ATC employee ("ATC Delivery Employee") may deliver medicinal marijuana to qualifying patients and designated caregivers on behalf of an ATC at their home addresses
- Orders shall be placed in advance, and products shall be labeled in the ATC prior to an ATC Delivery Employee making a delivery.
- Products shall be locked and stored in a secure lockbox in the vehicle used for delivery ("Delivery Vehicle") until an ATC Delivery Employee arrives at the delivery address.
- An ATC Delivery Employee shall lock the Delivery Vehicle, the lockbox, and equip the vehicle alarm system when conducting a delivery, or when leaving the vehicle for any other reason.
- Deliveries may be conducted by a single ATC Delivery Employee provided, however, that another ATC Employee, preferably a supervisor has access to real time GPS tracking of the Delivery Vehicle.
- ATC's shall only deliver to the physical addresses that are verified in the Patient Registry, and shall only deliver to verified patients and caregivers.
- ATC's shall not leave product unattended (i.e. on a porch or stoop), shall not deliver in mailboxes, shall not deliver to P.O. Boxes, and shall not deliver to any addresses on federally owned property.
- At the door of the patient or caregiver, an ATC Delivery Employee shall conduct an in-person visual verification of the registry identification card of the patient or caregiver prior to dispensing, which may be conducted without handling the card, for example through a window.
- An ATC Delivery Employee may make multiple deliveries in one trip, and shall travel only between the ATC premises and delivery addresses, except in the event of emergency or dangerous road conditions or as necessary for sanitization, rest, fuel, or vehicle repair stops.
- All transactions shall be appropriately logged in the registry and ATC inventory in accordance with N.J.A.C. 8:64-9.3, N.J.A.C. 8:64-9.9, and other corresponding rules.
New Jersey is not the only state to allow delivery. As of today, patients can order medical cannabis for home delivery in Nevada, Oregon, and California. Dispensaries have had a rough time throughout the crisis, many of whom were robbed and completely destroyed during recent riots, but the addition of home delivery to the program will definitely help keep some treatment centers in business for the foreseeable future.