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Medical Marijuana in N.J. / Too Cumbersome

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We don't blame Gov. Chris Christie for trying to craft a medical-marijuana program that does not become a farce, like California's or Colorado's programs, which make it far too easy for just about anyone to get "medical" pot.

But Christie's proposed regulations governing the program go too far, and Monday's announcement of the six "alternative treatment centers" that will be allowed to legally grow and sell marijuana only added to the problems with the program.

The six medical-marijuana dispensaries will be in Montclair in Essex County, Secaucus in Hudson County, Manalapan in Monmouth County, New Brunswick in Middlesex County and Bellmawr in Camden County, with the final center to be in either Burlington County or a second one in Camden County.

No alternative treatment center will be located in coastal southern New Jersey - and we and others have a problem with that. "We're a little concerned there's nothing in Atlantic County," said Roseanne Scotti, director of the New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance.

When you consider that the proposed rules - which the Legislature has said do not comply with the original legislation - do not allow home delivery and place a number of roadblocks in the way of caregivers picking up pot for registered patients, the lack of any treatment center in Atlantic, Cape May or Ocean counties is a major problem.

These are sick people we are talking about. New Jersey's law wisely specifies the diseases and conditions that will qualify someone for medical marijuana. We have no problem with that. But it does mean these will be seriously ill people who are seeking the drug. And this plan will certainly will not make it easy for such patients on the Jersey shore.

There are a number of other problems with the Christie administration's proposed rules. Most patients and/or caregivers, who can pick up the marijuana, would have to pay a $200 fee. Doctors would be required to undergo additional training before prescribing the drug. And, worst of all, the state's rules would limit the potency of the marijuana to a 10 percent THC cap.

As Dr. Jeffrey Pollack, of Mays Landing, has noted, the THC cap will simply force patients to smoke more of the drug or to continue buying more potent marijuana illegally.

The public comment period on the proposed rules does not end until April 24, at which point the rules could be changed. The Legislature can also require a rewrite of the regulations. Either way, at the very least, a seventh treatment center should be added in either Atlantic County, Cape May County or Ocean County, and the THC cap should be lifted.


News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: pressofatlanticcity.com
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