Bill Roberts, a laid-off glass factory worker from Pennsville in South Jersey, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about six years ago. To relieve his pain, Roberts was using narcotics daily. Then he moved to synthetic morphine.
Now, he said, what really helps him relax and get rest is medical marijuana.
After a slow start to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, a second dispensary opened Monday in Egg Harbor Township, near Atlantic City. It’s the first in South Jersey and it is conveniently located for Roberts.
Until now, he had a two-hour journey to the state’s first dispensary in North Jersey.
Outside of 10 to 12 good days a month, Roberts said he is in pain. The dispensaries allow him to increase and regularize his intake of medical marijuana.
“What it does to me is it gives me a safe place to go to where I know the quality and quantity of what I’m getting,” said Roberts. “Now that I’m legally allowed to posses and use this medicine, I am no longer on any narcotics whatsoever and I just use marijuana.”
This week, he has an appointment at the Egg Harbor Township clinic, just about an hour from his home in Salem County.
“I’m glad that there’s another place open in South Jersey, I’m glad that its closer to where I live,” said Roberts. “I’m glad that this one seems to be on a scale that can actually treat patients.”
In 2010, New Jersey legalized the sale of medical marijuana through state-monitored dispensaries for eligible individuals with chronic conditions.
The Egg Harbor Township dispensary is constructing a 3,600-square-foot growing room. So far, it has booked 200 appointments and registered 600 patients.
“I hope that everyone has as good of an experience as I’ve had as far as their personal care of me,” said Roberts of his experience so far with the clinics.