As N.J. suburbs fight medical marijuana facilities, advocate proposes urban locations

It’s now nearly two years since New Jersey’s medical marijuana law took effect, and patients still can’t get the drug legally.

Residents and officials in several New Jersey towns are fighting against having one of the six authorized alternative treatment centers that would grow and dispense the medical marijuana.

One of the key lawmakers behind the law has a new idea on how to get the distribution centers open.

If the suburbs don’t want them, those centers should be put in urban locations, says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.

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“There’s plenty of abandoned warehouses in the city of Trenton and other urban areas that we could fill that I think will help with the tax ratables,” he said. “And it would be readily accessible from people in the suburban areas.”

New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance director Roseanne Scotti said Thursday the rules for the medical marijuana program make it difficult to locate the treatment centers in urban areas.

Even after the sites are selected, it will take several months to grow the marijuana, Scotti said, meaning it could be the middle of 2012 before the medication is available for qualified patients.

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