More patients might become eligible for New Jersey's medical marijuana program.

The state Medicinal Marijuana Review panel has voted to recommend that chronic pain related to muscular skeletal disorders, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, Tourette's syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome be added to the qualifying conditions for the program.

Roseanne Scotti, the state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is thrilled with the decision.

"This is particularly exciting at this time when we're looking for alternatives to opioid pain medication. I think you're going to see some people looking to stop using opioids and use medical marijuana instead."

Ken Wolski with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey said tens of thousands of residents could be helped if those recommendations are finalized by the state Health Commissioner.

"Estimates are that one in three people suffer from chronic pain at one point in their lives. Obviously not all of them are going to want or need marijuana therapy, but even if five or ten percent of them did, that would be a very significant number."

It could be another six months before the Health Commissioner makes a final determination.