Bernardsville Doc Can Legally Recommend Pot
State approves list of more than 100 N.J. physicians who will be able to recommend that their patients may obtain marijuana.
State officials this week released a list of more than 100 physicians, including one in Bernardsville, authorized to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
The physician Dr. J. Michael Kirschenbaum, with an address of 80 Chapin Road, Bernardsville, is included on the list of four authorized medical practitioners within Somerset County.
Also on Monday, the state Department of Health and Senior Services approved a permit for Montclair-based Greenleaf Compassion Center to start growing marijuana, a move that could make the drug legally available to patients in three to four months. A second permit is needed before the facility can start selling the substance to patients.
“The Department is committed to ensuring that medicinal marijuana is safely and securely available to patients as quickly as possible,” Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a statement.
In the registration process, physicians with verified credentials submit the name, address and condition of the patient they are treating, which generates a secure identification number for the patient, said Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner. Patients have to get an identification card from the state and select a treatment center before a recommendation will be generated by the state for a patient to purchase the marijuana.
“New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program is based on a medical-model which requires physicians and qualified patients to have an ongoing relationship,” Dr. Arturo Brito, deputy commissioner for public health services, said in a statement. “Physicians will have to monitor patients on medicinal marijuana as part of managing their medical condition.”
The Health Department is developing its patient registry, which will open in the next several months.
First opened in October 2010, the physician registry will continue to accept new enrollment online at https://njmmp.nj.gov/njmmp. Doctors were informed their names would be made public so patients can contact them. In Bergen County, 26 physicians were listed, including the three in Teaneck.
“Physicians must have a bona fide and ongoing relationship with qualified patients they are recommending for the program,” said a Health Department news release.
In March 2011, the state announced six treatment centers had been licensed, but later said they were not actually approved, according to NJ.com. The Star-Ledger also published a series exposing apparent mismanagement in the medical marijuana program.
Medical marijuana has been said to ease symptoms associated with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and muscular dystrophy.
Linda Sadlouskos contributed to this story.