ASSEMBLY, No. 5760

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 18, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  HERB CONAWAY, JR.

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman  RALPH R. CAPUTO

District 28 (Essex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Speight

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Allows costs of medical cannabis to be reimbursed by Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, PAAD, Senior Gold, and VCCO.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning medical cannabis, amending various parts of the statutory law, and supplementing P.L.1975, c.194 and P.L.2001, c.26.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 16 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-14) is amended to read as follows:

     16.  [Nothing] a.  Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, nothing in P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al.) or P.L.2015, c.158 (C.18A:40-12.22 et al.) shall be construed to require a government medical assistance program or private health insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis, or to restrict or otherwise affect the distribution, sale, prescribing, and dispensing of any product that has been approved for marketing as a prescription drug or device by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

     b.    Consistent with the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the cost of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products dispensed by a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant shall be eligible for reimbursement through the “Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund” established pursuant to P.L.1987, c.370 (C.26:2-148 et seq.), the “Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled” program established pursuant to P.L.1975, c.194 (C.30:4D-20 et seq.), the “Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program” established pursuant to P.L.2001, c.96 (C.30:4D-45 et al.), and the “Criminal Injuries Compensation Act of 1971,” P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-1 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.2019, c.153, s.22)

 

     2.    Section 2 of P.L.1987, c.370 (C.26:2-149) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    As used in this act:

     a.     "Catastrophic illness" means any illness or condition the medical expenses of which are not covered by any other State or federal program or any insurance contract and exceed [10%] 10 percent of the first $100,000 of annual income of a family plus [15%] 15 percent of the excess income over $100,000.

     b.    "Child" means a person 21 years of age and under.

     c.     "Commission" means the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund Commission.

     d.    "Family" means a child and the child's parent, parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, who is legally responsible for the child's medical expenses.

     e.     "Fund" means the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund.

     f.     "Income" means all income, from whatever source derived, actually received by a family.

     g.    "Resident" means a person legally domiciled within the State for a period of three months immediately preceding the date of application for inclusion in the program.  Mere seasonal or temporary residence within the State, of whatever duration, does not constitute domicile.  Absence from this State for a period of 12 months or more is prima facie evidence of abandonment of domicile.  The burden of establishing legal domicile within the State is upon the parent or legal guardian of a child.

     h.    “Clinical registrant,” “medical cannabis dispensary,” and “registered qualifying patient” mean the same as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     i.     ”Cost of medical cannabis” means the purchase price of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products dispensed to or on behalf a registered qualifying patient, which purchase price shall be the price listed on the medical cannabis dispensary’s or clinical registrant’s website pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) less any applicable discounts or price reductions.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.260, s.1)

 

     3.    Section 9 of P.L.1987, c.370 (C.26:2-156) is amended to read as follows:

     9.    Whenever a child has a catastrophic illness and is eligible for the program, the child, through [his] the child’s parent or legal guardian, shall receive financial assistance from monies in the fund subject to the rules and regulations established by the commission and the availability of monies in the fund.  The financial assistance shall include, but is not limited to, payments or reimbursements for the cost of medical treatment, hospital care, drugs, nursing care and physician services.  In the case of a child who has a catastrophic illness who is a registered qualifying patient and who is eligible for the program, the child, through the child’s parent or legal guardian, shall receive financial assistance from monies in the fund to assist with the cost of medical cannabis for the patient, subject to the rules and regulations established by the commission and the availability of monies in the fund.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.260, s.3)

 

     4.    Section 3 of P.L.1975, c.194 (C.30:4D-22) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    The program of "Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled" shall consist of payments to pharmacies for the reasonable cost of prescription drugs of eligible persons which exceed a $2.00 copayment.  Said copayment shall be paid in full by each eligible person to the pharmacist at the time of each purchase of prescription drugs, and shall not be waived, discounted or rebated in whole or in part.

     The commissioner may restrict the day supply of initial prescriptions to less than a 30 day supply in order to reduce waste and reduce inappropriate drug utilization.  Subsequently, the commissioner may limit prescription drugs used in the treatment of acute care medical conditions to an amount not to exceed a 30 day supply.  The commissioner may allow up to a 60 day supply or 100 unit doses, whichever is greater, of prescription drugs used in the treatment of chronic maintenance conditions.

     Whenever any interchangeable drug product contained in the latest list approved and published by the Drug Utilization Review Council is available for the prescription written, an eligible person shall either:

     (1)   Purchase an interchangeable drug product which is equal to or less than the maximum allowable cost, at the $2.00 copayment; or

     (2)   Purchase the prescribed drug product which is higher in cost than the maximum allowable cost and pay the difference between the two, in addition to the $2.00 copayment, unless the prescriber specifically indicates that substitution is not permissible, in which case an eligible person may purchase the prescribed drug product at the $2.00 copayment.

     For purposes of this act:

     a.     "Prescription drugs" means all legend drugs, including any interchangeable drug products contained in the latest list approved and published by the Drug Utilization Review Council in conformance with the provisions of the "Prescription Drug Price and Quality Stabilization Act" (P.L.  1977, c. 240; C. 24:6E-1 et seq.), diabetic testing materials, and insulin, insulin syringes and insulin needles;

     b.    "Reasonable cost" means the maximum allowable cost of prescription drugs and a dispensing fee, as determined by the commissioner.  In the case of diabetic testing materials, the maximum allowable cost is the manufacturer's suggested retail selling price or the pharmacy's usual over-the-counter price charged to other persons in the community, whichever is less;

     c.     "Resident" means one legally domiciled within the State for a period of 30 days immediately preceding the date of application for inclusion in the program.  Mere seasonal or temporary residence within the State, of whatever duration, does not constitute domicile.  Absence from this State for a period of 12 months is prima facie evidence of abandonment of domicile.  The burden of establishing legal domicile within the State is upon the applicant;

     d.    "Diabetic testing materials" means blood glucose reagent strips which can be visually read, urine monitoring strips, tapes and tablets and bloodletting devices and lancets, but shall not include electronically monitored devices.

     e.     “Caregiver” means a designated caregiver or an institutional caregiver, as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     f.     “Clinical registrant,” “medical cannabis dispensary,” and “registered qualifying patient” mean the same as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     g.    "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Human Services.

     h.    ”Cost of medical cannabis” means the purchase price of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products dispensed to or on behalf a registered qualifying patient, which purchase price shall be the price listed on the medical cannabis dispensary’s or clinical registrant’s website pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) less any applicable discounts or price reductions.

     i.     "Department" means the Department of Human Services.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.291, s.2)

 

     5.    (New section)  a.  The “Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled” program established pursuant to P.L.1975, c.194 (C.30:4D-20 et seq.) shall provide a payment to a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant that is participating in the program for the cost of medical cannabis purchased by or on behalf of an eligible person who is a registered qualifying patient that exceeds a $7 copayment upon presentation of an identification card issued by the program identifying the registered qualifying patient as an eligible person.  The $7 copayment shall be paid in full by the eligible person or the eligible person’s caregiver at the time medical cannabis is dispensed to or on behalf of the registered qualifying patient, and shall not be waived, discounted, or rebated in whole or in part.  The payments to medical cannabis dispensaries and clinical registrants shall commence no later than the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     b.    An eligible person who is a registered qualifying patient whose medical cannabis costs are covered in part by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance may be required to receive reduced assistance under the provisions of this section.  Any otherwise eligible person whose medical cannabis costs are wholly covered by any other plan of assistance or insurance shall be ineligible for assistance under the provisions of this section. 

     c.     The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established pursuant to section 31 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-24), may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis that may be purchased by or on behalf of an eligible person in a 30-day period under the program, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

     d.    An eligible person under the program shall, upon the submission of an application and proof of expenditure as the department may prescribe, be reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost of medical cannabis purchased by or on behalf of that person in an amount that exceeds the required copayment, during the period commencing 30 days after the person's properly completed application was received by the department and ending on the date on which the person received proof of eligibility from the department; except that no reimbursement under this section shall be made for medical cannabis purchased prior to the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     e.     The commissioner shall by regulation provide for:

     (1)   arrangements for providing notice of the availability of the program and the distribution of application forms therefor;

     (2)   a system of payments to medical cannabis dispensaries and clinical registrants that may include the same dispensing fee structure that is used for payments to pharmacies under PAAD and a system for determining eligibility for the program, including evidence of complete or partial coverage of prescription drug or medical cannabis costs by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance; and

     (3)   the issuance of program identification cards to persons who are determined eligible for the program.

 

     6.    Section 2 of P.L.2001, c.96 (C.30:4D-44) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    As used in this act:

     “Caregiver” means a designated caregiver or an institutional caregiver, as those terms are defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     “Clinical registrant” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Human Services.

     ”Cost of medical cannabis” means the purchase price of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products dispensed to or on behalf a registered qualifying patient, which purchase price shall be the price listed on the medical cannabis dispensary’s or clinical registrant’s website pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) less any applicable discounts or price reductions.

     "Department" means the Department of Human Services.

     “Medical cannabis dispensary” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     "PAAD" means the program of pharmaceutical assistance to the aged and disabled established pursuant to P.L.1975, c.194 (C.30:4D-20 et seq.).

     "Prescription drug" means any legend drug which is covered by PAAD.

     "Program" means the "Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program" established pursuant to this act.

     "Reasonable cost" means the cost of a prescription drug as established for PAAD.

     “Registered qualifying patient” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3).

     "Resident" means a resident as defined in section 3 of P.L.1975, c.194 (C.30:4D-22) for purposes of eligibility for PAAD.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.17, s.386)

 

     7.    (New section)  a.  The “Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program” established pursuant to P.L.2001, c.96 (C.30:4D-44 et al.) shall provide a payment to a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant that is participating in the program for the cost of medical cannabis purchased by or on behalf of an eligible person who is a registered qualifying patient upon presentation of an identification card issued by the program identifying the registered qualifying patient as an eligible person.  The payments to medical cannabis dispensaries and clinical registrants shall commence no later than the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     At the time of each purchase of medical cannabis, the eligible person or the eligible person’s caregiver shall pay a copayment that shall not be waived, discounted, or rebated in whole or in part, and shall be equal to:

     (1)   $15 plus 50 percent of the remaining amount of the cost for the medical cannabis, or the cost for the medical cannabis, whichever is less; or

     (2)   $15, or the cost for the medical cannabis, whichever is less, in the case of an eligible person who is a registered qualifying patient who has incurred out-of-pocket expenditures, including copayments and deductibles, for the purchase of prescription drugs and medical cannabis, which are not reimbursable by any other plan of assistance or insurance and are credited to that person's account for each 12-month period of eligibility in accordance with procedures established by the commissioner, in the following amounts: $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a married couple.  These out-of-pocket expense amounts shall include only expenses incurred on or after the date that the person received proof of eligibility for the program from the department.

     b.    An eligible person who is a registered qualifying patient whose medical cannabis costs are covered in part by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance may be required to receive reduced assistance under the Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program.  If an eligible person's medical cannabis costs are covered in whole or in part by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance, the other program or plan shall be the primary payer and the Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program shall be the payer of last resort.

     c.     The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established pursuant to section 31 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-24), may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis that may be purchased by or on behalf of an eligible person in a 30-day period under the program, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

     d.    An eligible person under the program shall, upon the submission of an application and proof of expenditure as the department may prescribe, be reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost of medical cannabis purchased by or on behalf of that person in an amount that exceeds the required copayment, during the period commencing 30 days after the person's properly completed application was received by the department and ending on the date on which the person received proof of eligibility from the department; except that no reimbursement under this section shall be made for medical cannabis purchased prior to the effective date of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     e.     The commissioner shall by regulation provide for:

     (1)   arrangements for providing notice of the availability of the program and the distribution of application forms therefor;

     (2)   a system of payments to medical cannabis dispensaries and clinical registrants that may include the same dispensing fee structure that is used for PAAD and a system for determining eligibility for the program, including evidence of complete or partial coverage of prescription drug or medical cannabis costs by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance; and

     (3)   the issuance of program identification cards to persons who are determined eligible for the program.

 

     8.    Section 2 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    As used in P.L.1971, c.317:

     "Agency" means the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency;

     "Child" means an unmarried person who is under 21 years of age and includes a stepchild or an adopted child;

     “Clinical registrant” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3);

     ”Cost of medical cannabis” means the purchase price of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products dispensed to or on behalf a registered qualifying patient, which purchase price shall be the price listed on the medical cannabis dispensary’s or clinical registrant’s website pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) less any applicable discounts or price reductions;

     "Dependent" means a relative of a deceased victim who was wholly or partially dependent upon the victim's income at the time of the victim's death and shall include the child of a victim born after the victim's death;

     "Legal assistance" means assistance provided to a crime victim in the enforcement of victims' rights in all courts; family law matters, including but not limited to child protection actions, divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, emancipation, dependency, guardianship, and family reunification; obtaining protective and restraining orders; employment matters, including but not limited to wage and hour claims; accessing public benefits; life planning; and any other situation for which an eligible crime victim needs legal services related to the victimization;

     “Medical cannabis dispensary” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3);

     "Personal injury" means actual bodily harm and includes pregnancy and mental or nervous shock;

     “Registered qualifying patient” means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-3);

     "Relative" of any person means the person's spouse, parent, grandparent, stepfather, stepmother, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, or parent of the person's spouse;

     "Relevant evidence" means evidence having a tendency in reason to prove or disprove any fact of consequence to the determination of the action and that is deemed to be admissible under the rules of evidence and does not include rumor, supposition, speculation, hearsay or opinion, except as otherwise deemed admissible under the rules of evidence;

     "Review Board" or "board" means the Victims of Crime Compensation Review Board established by section 2 of P.L.2007, c.95 (C.52:4B-3.2);

     "Victim" means a person who suffers personal, physical, or psychological injury or death as a result of the conduct of another person who commits against that person any of the offenses specified in section 11 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-11) or an act by a juvenile, which if committed by an adult, would constitute a violation of any of these offenses.  The term shall include, in the case of a criminal homicide or an act by a juvenile which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a criminal homicide, the spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, child, sibling, domestic or civil union partner of the decedent, or parent of the decedent's child;

     "Victims of Crime Compensation Office" or "office" means the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency established pursuant to P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-1 et seq.) which is continued as the Victims of Crime Compensation Office pursuant to P.L.2007, c.95 (C.52:4B-3.2 et al.) and Reorganization Plan No. 001-2008.

(cf: P.L.2019, c.380, s.1)

 

     9.    Section 12 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-12) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  The [agency] office may order the payment of compensation under this act for:

     a.     expenses actually and reasonably incurred as a result of the personal injury or death of the victim, including out-of-pocket losses which shall mean unreimbursed and unreimbursable expenses or indebtedness reasonably incurred for medical care or other services necessary as a result of the injury upon which such application is based, which shall include the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of a victim who is a registered qualifying patient by a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant,

     b.    loss of earning power as a result of total or partial incapacity of such victim,

     c.     pecuniary loss to the dependents of the deceased victim, and

     d.    any other pecuniary loss resulting from the personal injury or death of the victim which the [agency] office determines to be reasonable.

     Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the office, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established pursuant to section 31 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-24), may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis for which payment of compensation may be made under this section to an individual in a 30-day period, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

(cf: P.L.2007, c.95, s.16)

 

     10.  Section 1 of P.L.1981 c.258 (C.52:4B-10.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a.  The Victims of Crime Compensation Office may make one or more emergency awards to any applicant for compensation pending final determination of a case, when it determines that compensation is likely to be provided and that the applicant will suffer undue hardship if funds are not made immediately available.  The amount of any one emergency award shall not exceed $7,500.  Any emergency awards made to an applicant shall be deducted from the final amount of compensation provided to an applicant by the office.  If the amount of compensation made by the office to an applicant is less than the sum provided to the applicant through emergency grants, the applicant shall pay to the office an amount of money equal to the difference.  If the office determines that an applicant who has received emergency awards shall receive no compensation, the applicant shall repay to the office the total amount of all emergency awards which the applicant received.

     b.    In addition to any emergency award made pursuant to the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the office may make an emergency award in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for compensation for funds stolen from a victim in connection with any of the incidents specified in section 11 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-11) except burglary pursuant to paragraph (11) of subsection b. of section 11 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-11), whether or not the victim suffered personal injury, under the following circumstances:

     (1)   The victim is 60 years of age or older or is disabled as defined pursuant to the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 416(i);

     (2)   The victim's income does not exceed the limits adopted by the State Department of Human Services as the standard of need for the General Assistance Program;

     (3)   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2019, c.380)

     (4)   The victim establishes:

     (a)   that the victim has filed a police report indicating, among other things, the amount stolen;

     (b)   that the victim has cooperated with investigative and prosecuting authorities; and

     (c)   the source of the funds stolen; and

     (5)   The office is satisfied that there are no other sources available to provide the victim with funds necessary to cover immediate costs of essential shelter, food, or medical expenses, which medical expenses shall include the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of a victim who is a registered qualifying patient by a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant, and that, but for the victim's loss, the victim would otherwise have had the funds to pay these costs.

     c.     The office shall direct that any funds awarded pursuant to this act be expended solely to cover the costs established pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection b. of this section.

     d.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2007, c.95).

     e.     Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (5) of subsection b, of this section, the office, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established pursuant to section 31 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-24), may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis that may be covered under this section for an individual in a 30-day period, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

(cf: P.L.2019, c.380, s.5)

 

     11.  Section 2 of P.L.1999, c.166 (C.52:4B-18.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.  In addition to any award granted pursuant to section 18 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-18), the Victims of Crime Compensation  [Agency] Office may make one or more supplemental awards for the purpose of providing rehabilitative assistance to catastrophically injured crime victims or other persons entitled to compensation under section 10 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-10).

     b.    The rehabilitative assistance which the supplemental award may cover can include, but is not limited to, any of the following services not covered by the original award of compensation or by other sources provided that the [agency] office determines that the services are reasonable and necessary:

     (1)   Surgical and therapeutic procedures;

     (2)   Rehabilitative physical and occupational therapy designed to restore an optimum function level;

     (3)   Prescription drugs and medical supplies, which shall include the cost of medical cannabis dispensed by a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant to or on behalf of a catastrophically injured crime victim or other person entitled to compensation under section 10 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-10) who is a registered qualifying patient;

     (4)   Cognitive and psychological therapy;

     (5)   Home health assistance;

     (6)   Vehicle modifications;

     (7)   Driver training;

     (8)   Wheelchair, braces, splints, crutches, walkers, shower or commode chair and any other personal adaptive equipment required to meet individual disability needs;

     (9)   Structural modifications to living environment designed to provide accessibility and to maximize independence;

     (10) Dependent care as needed.

     c.     The Victims of Crime Compensation [Agency] Office is authorized to make rules and regulations prescribing the procedures to be followed in qualifying for a supplemental award.  The [agency] office is also authorized to establish a cap on the total amount of supplemental awards to be made in a year and a cap on the amount which a person may receive as a supplemental award, which personal cap shall not be less than $25,000.  Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection b. of this section, the office, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established pursuant to section 31 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-24), may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of an individual in a 30-day period that may be eligible for a supplemental award under this section, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

     d.    The payment of any supplemental award granted under the provisions of this section shall be approved by the [agency] office for payment out of funds appropriated for the administration of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-1 et seq.), the "Criminal Injuries Compensation Act of 1971."

     e.     A catastrophically injured crime victim who received a compensation award prior to the enactment of this section may apply for a supplemental award pursuant to the provisions of this section.  A denial by the [agency] office of an application made pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall not be subject to appeal.

     f.     As used in this section, "catastrophically injured crime victim" means a person who is injured by any act or omission of another person which is within the description of the offenses specified in section 11 of P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-11) and who has sustained a severe long term or life long personal injury.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.95, s.20)

 

     12.  This act shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, the “Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled” (PAAD) program, the “Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program,” and the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) to cover the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient eligible for or receiving benefits under any of those programs.

     Specifically, the bill will require the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund to assist with the cost of medical cannabis for a child who is eligible for assistance from the program who is a registered qualifying patient under the State medical cannabis program, subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund Commission and the availability of monies in the fund. 

     Under the PAAD and Senior Gold programs, at the time of each purchase of medical cannabis, the eligible person or the eligible person’s caregiver will be required to pay a copayment that may not be waived, discounted, or rebated in whole or in part.  The State will then reimburse the medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant for the balance of the purchase price of the medical cannabis, which purchase price will be the price listed on the medical cannabis dispensary’s or clinical registrant’s website as required pursuant to subsection h. of section 7 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-7) less any applicable discounts or price reductions.

     Under the PAAD program, the copayment will be $7.  Under the Senior Gold program, the copayment will be equal to:

     1)    $15 plus 50 percent of the remaining amount of the cost for the medical cannabis, or the cost for the medical cannabis, whichever is less; or

     2)    $15, or the cost for the medical cannabis, whichever is less, in the case of an eligible person who has incurred out-of-pocket expenditures, including copayments and deductibles, for the purchase of prescription drugs and medical cannabis, which are not reimbursable by any other plan of assistance or insurance and are credited to that person's account for each 12-month period of eligibility in accordance with procedures established by the Commissioner of Human Services, in the following amounts: $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a married couple.  These out-of-pocket expense amounts will include only expenses incurred on or after the date that the person received proof of eligibility for the program.

     An eligible person whose medical cannabis costs are covered in part by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance may be required to receive reduced assistance under the PAAD and Senior Gold programs.  Under the PAAD program, if an eligible person's medical cannabis costs are covered in whole by any other program or plan of assistance or insurance, the person will be ineligible for PAAD assistance; under the Senior Gold program, if an eligible person’s medical cannabis costs are covered in whole or in part by another plan of assistance or insurance, the Senior Gold program will be the payer of last resort.

     The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis that may be purchased by or on behalf of an eligible person in a 30-day period under the PAAD and Senior Gold programs, which limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).

     The bill provides that eligible persons under the PAAD and Senior Gold programs may be reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost of medical cannabis purchased by or on behalf of that person in an amount that exceeds the required copayment, during the period commencing 30 days after the person's properly completed application was received by the department and ending on the date on which the person received proof of eligibility from the department; except that no reimbursement may be made for medical cannabis purchased prior to the effective date of the bill.     

     This bill requires the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) to include the costs associated with the medical use of cannabis as an expense for which a victim may receive compensation, an emergency award, or a supplemental award.

     Under current law, victims of certain crimes are eligible to receive compensation from the VCCO for certain expenses, including unreimbursed and unreimbursable expenses reasonably incurred for medical care or other services necessary as a result of the victim’s injury.  This bill provides that the expenses that are eligible for compensation from the VCCO will include the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of a victim who is a registered qualifying patient.

     Current law also provides that the VCCO may make an emergency award to an applicant pending final determination of a case when the office determines that compensation is likely to be provided and that the applicant will suffer undue hardship if funds are not made immediately available.  Under current law, the funds are only permitted to be used to cover immediate costs of essential shelter, food, or medical expenses.  The bill provides that medical expenses are to include the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of an applicant who is a registered qualifying patient.

     In addition, current law provides that certain crime victims who are catastrophically injured are eligible to receive an additional, supplemental award to be used for certain rehabilitative services, including prescription drugs and medical supplies.  This bill provides that the cost of medical cannabis dispensed to or on behalf of a catastrophically-injured crime victim who is a registered qualifying patient will be included as a rehabilitative service for which the victim may receive a supplemental award.

     The bill specifies that the VCCO, in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, may establish limits on the maximum quantity of medical cannabis that will be eligible for coverage, payment, or reimbursement from the VCCO under these various programs for an individual in a 30-day period.  These limits may be in an amount lower than the maximum quantities of medical cannabis that may be dispensed to or on behalf of a registered qualifying patient pursuant to subsection f. of section 10 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-10).