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Advocates say New Jersey’s marijuana rules too strict

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Proposed rules to implement New Jersey’s new medical marijuana law have advocates balking. Kerry Grens reports from WHYY’s health and science desk that the law remains the country’s most restrictive.

The New Jersey health department will have its proposed rules on the table for two months, during which applications from patients, growers and dispensers will be considered. The regulations call for four dispensaries, two cultivators, a $200 fee for patients, and providers may be restricted from participating if they have a criminal background.

Scotti: I think the goal of rules seems to be to provide the least amount of relief to the fewest number of patients.

Roseanne Scotti is the director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, which supports access to marijuana for sick people. She says there are too few pick-up sites and the fee is prohibitively high.

Scotti: If you can imagine there being only four pharmacies in all of New Jersey to serve people’s needs I think that would be very problematic. I think the cost for patients to get an ID card a registry card is $200, which I think is exorbitant.

Deputy health secretary Susan Walsh disagrees.

Walsh: We did I think a very fair balance between making sure that medicinal marijuana is available that there is access to qualifying patients as well as keeping it safe and secure.

A physician registry is expected to go online this month, where doctors can register their patients for medical marijuana. Growers will be selected at the beginning of 2011, and marijuana could become available by next summer.


  • M Grayson quadreplegic says:

    The governer has destroyed my hopes of having a comfortable existance this year and my time is going quickly.

    10% level is a joke …should be between 15 & 20%.
    Pushed back to July is a joke !

    I hope the governer needs serious pain or other relief and all they have is asprin and he waits a year and a 1/2 for it.

  • Michael Berman, Board Chair, says:

    The proposed regulations were NOT drafted from the perspective of patients, that is for sure. New Jersey is a large state with over 10 million residents. The proposed regulations, which allow for only 2 growers for the entire state is a bad decision on so many grounds. What is a one crop went bad, for reasons of mites, temperature problems, environmental issues, etc. [GROWING MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS NOT A PERFECT SCIENCE; PROBLEMS HAPPEN]. So the PATIENTS are at risk of possibly not having medicine even once the program is established.

    Furthermore, the regulations only permit 3 strains of medical cannabis to be grown by each of the 2 Growers, (6 strains total for the state). My question is: HOW CAN THERE EVER BE A 7TH STRAIN (which may help patients more)? Who is doing this research, and how? Again, patients are at risk of medicine that is less than industry standard. 3 strains max is simply foolish!

    And that leads me into the most atrocious part of the proposed regulations — the maximum amount of THC allowed by law in the medical marijuana sold to patients in NJ will be 10% THC — which is significantly lower than what is offered to patients in other States (15-20% THC on average0. First, where do the seeds be found even to grow medical cannabis with a THC content of 10%? Second and most troubling, since research shows that cannabis is the Number 1 most-sought commodity on the planet, and also that some patients require medical marijuana with a higher THC content than 10%, the 10% cap will certainly encourage some patients in New Jersey to make the choice to purchase stronger medical cannabis on the open market, so that they can achieve the medical relief they need. New Jersey has come so far to help suffering patients — How can the program put in place be so INSENSITIVE TO PATIENTS?

  • joe spinal says:

    as a person who has undergone three spinal surgeries (and subsequently take various pharmaceutical painkillers) and was diagnosed with malnourishment (the above medicine negatively affects my appetite) i am appalled at the absolutely ridiculous restrictions placed on the medical marijuana program, restrictions that were never intended when the law was approved and signed nearly a year ago. i would like an alternative (no, i do not consume alcohol) to ease the constant pain i feel and wish to decrease the amount of pharma painkilles i must now injest. the medical marijuana law was intended to be a compassionate legislation designed to help people like myself live their lives with as much dignity and normalcy as possible. unfortunately those who have no experience with the pain we suffer apparently are showing no compassion with their reworking of the bill. i would never wish on anyone the pain i feel (which, by the way, was caused by someone other than myself) but the irony of the situation is that there is no other way one would truly understand my situation unless they also live my experience. it is a reality that compassion is in very short supply in this 21st century environment.

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