Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance.The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), placed marijuana in is most restrictive category, Schedule I. It further defined marijuana as a drug with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use for treatment, and lacking acceptable safety uses even under medical supervision. 21 U.S.C. Section 812(b)(1).
In 2010, New Jersey enacted the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act which decriminalized the possession of a certain amount of marijuana for medical use by qualifying patients. N.J.S.A. 24:6I-6. The purpose of the act was to protect from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties, those patients who use cannabis to alleviate suffering from qualifying medical conditions, as well as their health care practitioners, designated caregivers, institutional caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce cannabis for medical purposes. In July 2019, New Jersey amended the act and expanded access to medical cannabis for all qualified patients.
The amendment raises certain concerns amongst some medical providers. Specifically, how does this expanded access co-exist with policies in place at drug treatment facilities that prohibit such use? Does the act protect a drug addiction center against threats of discrimination and non-compliance with the Compassionate Use Act? What factors should a center consider in dealing with this type of situation? Will there be a liability issue if the clinic does not allow marijuana use while the patient is at the center, even if the patient has a medical marijuana card? Can the center discharge the patient if they are not compliant with clinic policy? The short answer is that drug treatment centers would likely be protected against any such claims.