New Jersey medical marijuana supply safe after Hurricane Sandy

John O’Brien, the director New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP), reported today that the state’s only cannabis provider was unaffected by Hurricane Sandy. Greenleaf Compassion Center is the single, fully permitted Alternative Treatment Center. They operate a dispensary in Montclair, N J and a growing facility at an undisclosed Northern New Jersey location. O’Brien said via email this morning: “The Greenleaf cultivation facility didn’t miss a beat, no loss of power. Their harvested product is good and the new cultivation is doing well. Mr. Stevens [Greenleaf CEO] and company have assembled a secure and sustainable facility.

He deserves a lot of credit for his planning and forethought.” Concern has turned to relief among registered and potentially qualifying NJ patients who wondered if the historic storm could have an impact on the nascent program. Patients have started to receive their identification cards from the NJ Department of Health (DOH). Still, prior to the storm Greenleaf ATC had not started serving patients just yet.

O’Brien did not give a time-frame but said, “We continue to work with Joe towards an opening date.” Advocates at The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) point out that severe weather is just one of the reasons why more medical cannabis ATCs must be opened in different regions of the state. NJ is the first state to pass a compassionate use law that does not include provisions for home cultivation by patients or caregivers. Governor Chris Christie and NJDOH regulators have also refused to allow the ATCs to deliver cannabis to homes; a common practice with pharmaceutical medication.

At the moment, any registered NJ medical marijuana patient or their registered caregiver must travel to Greenleaf ATC to purchase cannabis that is legal under the law. Montclair is in northern New Jersey, just outside New York City. Although the area is easily accessible via roads and public transit, MMP participants in southern NJ (such as Cape May County) face a 10-hour round-trip journey, under the best conditions.

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