Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
“Children’s Caregivers Act”; revises requirements for primary caregivers for medical marijuana patients who are minors.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning medical marijuana and designated as the Children’s Caregivers Act, and amending P.L.2009, c.307.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3) is amended to read as follows:
3. As used in this act:
"Bona fide physician-patient relationship" means a relationship in which the physician has ongoing responsibility for the assessment, care, and treatment of a patient's debilitating medical condition.
"Certification" means a statement signed by a physician with whom a qualifying patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, which attests to the physician's authorization for the patient to apply for registration for the medical use of marijuana.
"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Health.
"Debilitating medical condition" means:
(1) one of the following conditions, if resistant to conventional medical therapy: seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; or glaucoma;
(2) one of the following conditions, if severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome results from the condition or treatment thereof: positive status for human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immune deficiency syndrome; or cancer;
(3) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease;
(4) terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis of less than 12 months of life; or
(5) any other medical condition or its treatment that is approved by the department by regulation.
"Department" means the Department of Health.
"Marijuana" has the meaning given in section 2 of the "New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act," P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-2).
"Medical marijuana alternative treatment center" or "alternative treatment center" means an organization approved by the department to perform activities necessary to provide registered qualifying patients with usable marijuana and related paraphernalia in accordance with the provisions of this act. This term shall include the organization's officers, directors, board members, and employees.
"Medical use of marijuana" means the acquisition, possession, transport, or use of marijuana or paraphernalia by a registered qualifying patient as authorized by this act.
"Minor" means a person who is under 18 years of age and who has not been married or previously declared by a court or an administrative agency to be emancipated.
"Paraphernalia" has the meaning given in N.J.S.2C:36-1.
"Physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship and who is the primary care physician, hospice physician, or physician responsible for the ongoing treatment of a patient's debilitating medical condition, provided, however, that the ongoing treatment shall not be limited to the provision of authorization for a patient to use medical marijuana or consultation solely for that purpose.
"Primary caregiver" or "caregiver" means a resident of the State who:
a. is at least 18 years old;
b. has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana, is not currently serving as primary caregiver for another qualifying patient, and is not the qualifying patient's physician;
c. has never been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, unless such conviction occurred after the effective date of this act and was for a violation of federal law related to possession or sale of marijuana that is authorized under this act;
d. has registered with the department pursuant to section 4 of this act, and has satisfied the criminal history record background check requirement of section 4 of this act; and
e. has been designated as primary caregiver on the qualifying patient's application or renewal for a registry identification card or in other written notification to the department.
Notwithstanding subsection b. of this section, a custodial parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of a minor who is a qualifying patient may concurrently serve as primary caregiver for each minor patient for whom the person has legal custody.
"Qualifying patient" or "patient" means a resident of the State who has been provided with a certification by a physician pursuant to a bona fide physician-patient relationship.
"Registry identification card" means a document issued by the department that identifies a person as a registered qualifying patient or primary caregiver.
"Usable marijuana" means the dried leaves and flowers of marijuana, and any mixture or preparation thereof, and does not include the seeds, stems, stalks, or roots of the plant.
(cf: P.L.2012, c.17, s.90)
2. Section 4 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-4) is amended to read as follows:
4. a. The department shall establish a registry of qualifying patients and their primary caregivers, and shall issue a registry identification card, which shall be valid for two years, to a qualifying patient and primary caregiver, if applicable, who submits the following, in accordance with regulations adopted by the department:
(1) a certification that meets the requirements of section 5 of this act;
(2) an application or renewal fee, which may be based on a sliding scale as determined by the commissioner;
(3) the name, address, and date of birth of the patient and caregiver, as applicable; and
(4) the name, address, and telephone number of the patient's physician.
b. Before issuing a registry identification card, the department shall verify the information contained in the application or renewal form submitted pursuant to this section. In the case of a primary caregiver, the department shall provisionally approve an application pending the results of a criminal history record background check, if the caregiver otherwise meets the requirements of this act. The department shall approve or deny an application or renewal within 30 days of receipt of the completed application or renewal, and shall issue a registry identification card within five days of approving the application or renewal. The department may deny an application or renewal only if the applicant fails to provide the information required pursuant to this section, or if the department determines that the information was incorrect or falsified or does not meet the requirements of this act. Denial of an application shall be a final agency decision, subject to review by the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
c. (1) The commissioner shall require each applicant seeking to serve as a primary caregiver to undergo a criminal history record background check. The commissioner is authorized to exchange fingerprint data with and receive criminal history record background information from the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation consistent with the provisions of applicable federal and State laws, rules, and regulations. The Division of State Police shall forward criminal history record background information to the commissioner in a timely manner when requested pursuant to the provisions of this section.
An applicant seeking to serve as a primary caregiver shall submit to being fingerprinted in accordance with applicable State and federal laws, rules, and regulations. No check of criminal history record background information shall be performed pursuant to this section unless the applicant has furnished [his] the applicant’s written consent to that check. An applicant who refuses to consent to, or cooperate in, the securing of a check of criminal history record background information shall not be considered for inclusion in the registry as a primary caregiver or issuance of an identification card. An applicant shall bear the cost for the criminal history record background check, including all costs of administering and processing the check.
(2) The commissioner shall not approve an applicant seeking to serve as a primary caregiver if the criminal history record background information of the applicant reveals a disqualifying conviction. For the purposes of this section, a disqualifying conviction shall mean a conviction of a crime involving any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as set forth in chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes except paragraph (4) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-10, or any similar law of the United States or of any other state.
(3) Upon receipt of the criminal history record background information from the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the commissioner shall provide written notification to the applicant of [his] the applicant’s qualification or disqualification for serving as a primary caregiver.
If the applicant is disqualified because of a disqualifying conviction pursuant to the provisions of this section, the conviction that constitutes the basis for the disqualification shall be identified in the written notice.
(4) The Division of State Police shall promptly notify the commissioner in the event that an individual who was the subject of a criminal history record background check conducted pursuant to this section is convicted of a crime or offense in this State after the date the background check was performed. Upon receipt of that notification, the commissioner shall make a determination regarding the continued eligibility of the applicant to serve as a primary caregiver.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of this section to the contrary, no applicant shall be disqualified from serving as a registered primary caregiver on the basis of any conviction disclosed by a criminal history record background check conducted pursuant to this section if the individual has affirmatively demonstrated to the commissioner clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation. In determining whether clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation has been demonstrated, the following factors shall be considered:
(a) the nature and responsibility of the position which the convicted individual would hold, has held, or currently holds;
(b) the nature and seriousness of the crime or offense;
(c) the circumstances under which the crime or offense occurred;
(d) the date of the crime or offense;
(e) the age of the individual when the crime or offense was committed;
(f) whether the crime or offense was an isolated or repeated incident;
(g) any social conditions which may have contributed to the commission of the crime or offense; and
(h) any evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in prison or in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, acquisition of additional academic or vocational schooling, successful participation in correctional work-release programs, or the recommendation of those who have had the individual under their supervision.
d. A registry identification card shall contain the following information:
(1) the name, address, and date of birth of the patient and primary caregiver, if applicable;
(2) the expiration date of the registry identification card;
(3) photo identification of the cardholder; and
(4) such other information that the department may specify by regulation.
e. (1) A patient who has been issued a registry identification card shall notify the department of any change in the patient's name, address, or physician or change in status of the patient's debilitating medical condition, within 10 days of such change, or the registry identification card shall be deemed null and void.
(2) A primary caregiver who has been issued a registry identification card shall notify the department of any change in the caregiver's name or address within 10 days of such change, or the registry identification card shall be deemed null and void.
f. The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons to whom it has issued registry identification cards. Individual names and other identifying information on the list, and information contained in any application form, or accompanying or supporting document shall be confidential, and shall not be considered a public record under P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5 et al.), and shall not be disclosed except to:
(1) authorized employees of the department and the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety as necessary to perform official duties of the department and the division, as applicable; and
(2) authorized employees of State or local law enforcement agencies, only as necessary to verify that a person who is engaged in the suspected or alleged medical use of marijuana is lawfully in possession of a registry identification card.
g. Applying for or receiving a registry card does not constitute a waiver of the qualifying patient's patient-physician privilege.
h. In the case of a qualifying patient who is a minor, each custodial parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the patient may concurrently be registered and serve as primary caregiver for the patient, and the patient’s custodial parent, guardian, or other legal custodian may additionally designate another individual who does not have legal custody of the patient to concurrently serve as primary caregiver for the patient, provided that individual otherwise meets the requirements to serve as a primary caregiver and that no more than one such individual is designated for the minor patient at one time.
(cf: P.L.2009, c.307, s.4)
3. The Commissioner of Health, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall adopt rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.
4. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill, the “Children’s Caregivers Act,” revises the requirements to serve as primary caregiver to a qualifying patient who is a minor under the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.”
Specifically, the bill provides that a custodial parent, guardian, or other person who has legal custody of a minor who is a qualifying patient may concurrently serve as primary caregiver to each minor patient in that person’s custody, and each custodial parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor patient may concurrently serve as primary caregiver to that patient. Additionally, the patient’s parent, guardian, or custodian may designate an additional person who does not have legal custody of the patient to serve as an additional primary caregiver to the patient, provided that no more than one additional caregiver is designated for the patient in this manner at one time.
The bill does not revise the current requirement that adult medical marijuana patients are permitted to have no more than one primary caregiver, or the requirement that a person may serve as primary caregiver to no more than one adult patient. The bill does not otherwise revise the requirements to serve as primary caregiver, including the requirements that the person be at least 18 years of age, have agreed to serve as primary caregiver, not be the patient’s physician, have never been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, have registered with the Department of Health, and have successfully completed a criminal history record background check.