Concerns over medical marijuana system slow N.J. centers’ debut

Concerns about the background checks for applicants to run New Jersey’s medical marijuana centers are adding to the delays in getting the program started.

Published reports say one would-be grower listed a diploma from an unaccredited Internet site as one of his qualifications.

State Sen. Nick Scutari, the primary sponsor of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law that was signed nearly two years ago, said he is concerned about the state Health Department’s process for selecting the six alternative treatment centers.

“It had been assumed and basically the testimony had been given that they had been very diligent in terms of the selection process, very neutral in picking the people that were selected to run these six centers,” Scutari said. “So we need to find out a little more in how much or little vetting was done for these people.”

Ken Wolski, the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, said the vetting process is troublesome.

“The Department of Health seemed more concerned about a possible marijuana offense in a person’s background rather than any ties to white collar crime or even very serious criminal activities,” he said.

A Health Department spokeswoman said none of the centers will be given a permit to open without satisfying all of the requirements including background checks and obtaining municipal approvals.

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