Senator wants no scaleback of N.J. medical marijuana law

    Sen. Nicholas Scutari says he fears the number of dispensaries and cultivators will be fewer than provided for in the legislation. The law is expected to take effect in January.

    The sponsor of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is insisting the law, which calls for six dispensaries to grow and sell the marijuana, go into effect as planned. Sen. Nicholas Scutari says the state Health Department has not yet released its regulations for the program, but he’s heard that the administration wants only two growers and four dispensaries.

    “I’m hoping they’ll comply with the law and make the regulations match up with the law the way it stands,” says Scutari. “I’m certain we can work together to make that happen. If we don’t, then obviously there’s other avenues of relief.”

    The Coalition for Medical Marijuana says having six centers cultivate and grow the marijuana would allow a reasonable startup of the program in January for medically qualified patients.

    Chris Goldstein of the coalition says having only two growers could cause problems in the future.

    “We have seen the federal government raid state-authorized medical marijuana facilities in other states. When a raid takes place in another state of a single cultivator, it does not effect the entire patient population,” says Goldstein. “By centralizing the cultivation, a possible federal interference raid could shut down the cultivation for all the patients in New Jersey.”

    Scutari says he’ll work with the administration to make sure the medical marijuana program begins as planned in January.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.