Two of the approved medical marijuana alternative treatment centers for New Jersey are exploring Burlington County locations. But will they have any customers? Gov. Chris Christie and the Department of Health and Senior Services have imposed many new restrictions on the compassionate cannabis program that were not included in the original 2010 law. Among Christie’s draconian regulations is a 10 percent cap on THC content, prohibition of home delivery, and imposing the nation’s first registry for doctors. Out of 30,000 physicians in the Garden State, only about 100 have joined the program. By the way, the New Jersey marijuana doctor list is not being made public. And those terrible regulations have not actually been finalized by DHSS — another potential snag for any municipal blessings.
But the law itself passed with a major flaw: Of the 16 states with medical cannabis provisions, New Jersey was the first to continue the prohibition for registered patients growing their own or forming collective gardens. The no-home-grow concept was introduced by Burlington County Assemblyman Herb Conaway and forces all approved patients into the ATCs to buy their marijuana. In their DHSS applications, the ATCs plan to charge the same as street prices. Compassionate Sciences has tens of millions of dollars to invest, along with deep political connections in Trenton and in mainstream corporate health care. The group has projections for serving thousands of patients in their first year of operation … as if they will have the only pot in New Jersey. But their biggest competition is the prodigious amount of medical-grade marijuana that is already available underground — no registry required.
Christie pledged to have legal marijuana to qualifying residents by the end of 2011, but since it’s October and there are no seeds planted, that is already another broken promise. News also surfaced last week of a retooled federal crackdown on medical cannabis businesses. Doctors, nurses and seriously ill residents know that marijuana is effective. Their testimony is why the law was passed. Rather than buy the high-priced/low-potency pot from the corporate ATCs, most patients will likely stay underground. This is where seriously ill residents have been left for the last two years already. If the New Jersey Legislature really wants to create safe access without federal interference, it is time to put patient/caregiver cultivation back into the medical marijuana law.
via : PhillyBurbs
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