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Ohio Drops Medical Marijuana Patient Fee To 1¢ As New Jersey Offers Free Digital Cannabis Cards

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Ohio medical marijuana patients and caregivers will soon only need to pay one penny to obtain or renew their registrations, regulators have announced. And in New Jersey, the state is fully eliminating the cost of obtaining a medical cannabis card.


As Ohio prepares to implement a voter-approved adult-use legalization law, the Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) says that, effective March 4, the annual fees ($50 for patients and $25 for caregivers) will drop to one cent. Once regulators are able to update vendor software, the plan is to completely remove the fee.


“The DCC understands that a one cent charge is not ideal,” it said in a notice on Tuesday, “however, at this time the Division feels it is appropriate and necessary to provide this immediate financial relief for patients and caregivers in the short term while working toward a full fee elimination as soon as the updates to the registry can be made.”


The fee elimination is part of an initial package of rules that DCC released earlier this month to implement adult-use legalization. That rollout currently calls for sales to begin in September, but the governor and lawmakers have pushed for legislation to speed up that process by allowing existing medical cannabis dispensaries to begin selling to adult consumers earlier.


A top Ohio Democratic senator recently said GOP House leadership is doing a “disservice” to the public by failing to advance legislation to expedite marijuana sales.


The Senate did pass a bill in December that would address the issue by allowing existing medical cannabis dispensaries to dually serve patients and adult consumers within 90 days of enactment, in addition to other changes to the initiated statute. But the House hasn’t taken it up, and the chamber has also been considering an alternative package.


Meanwhile, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) also announced on Tuesday that, starting on March 1, patients and caregivers will no longer be required to pay a $10 fee to obtain a medical marijuana card.


They will be able to download the cards digitally for free and either save them on their phones or print them out.


“We are excited to offer free digital medicinal cannabis cards to patients in New Jersey,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the NJ-CRC, said in a press release. “Our goal with this initiative is to improve accessibility and convenience for patients who require medical cannabis for their treatment. By offering digital options, we make it more convenient for patients to receive the care they need.”


Brown also recently disclosed that the state has officially surpassed $2 billion in medical and recreational marijuana sales since 2018, and he also encouraged lawmakers to explore the possibility of giving medical cannabis patients a home grow option.


Earlier this month, the governor of New Jersey also touted a “huge milestone” for his state’s marijuana industry as regulators announced that more than 100 medical and adult-use cannabis shops are now open across the state.

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