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Montclair Nonprofit Chosen to Operate Marijuana Treatment Center

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Dr. Nancy Elliott believes thatfor some cancer patients, medical marijuana can alleviate pain or distress.

Elliott, a Montclair resident and founder and director of the Montclair Breast Center for the past 18 years, says medicinal cannibas would, in some cases, be beneficial for patients, especially those suffering from nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments.

"If it can help the nausea, it should be available to them," Elliott said.

Well, a local organization may be able to assist some of her patients as early as this summer.

A nonprofit corporation based in Montclair is one of six organizations in New Jersey allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana, according to state Health Department officials.

The six nonprofit agencies, including Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair, were selected to operate the "alternative treatment centers" for the state's medicinal marijuana program.

On its Facebook page, Greenleaf Compassion Center calls itself a "nonprofit cannabis dispensary" that will "provide safe and affordable access to medical marijuana for qualifying NJ residents."

According to its Facebook page, the center will distribute medication, and also grow and breed new strains.

"All of our seed stock will be of the finest breeding quality; each seed specifically inspected and controlled for heredity and quality of genetics. This will provide our clients with the highest quality of medication available," the center states on the website.

The center's president and chief executive officer, Joe Stevens, according to its Facebook page, and another person affiliated with the center, either could not be reached or were not available for comment.

When asked where the facility would be located, several municipal officials were uncertain.

Some Township Council members, as well as Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried, expressed support.

"It's going to be tightly regulated. We're not going to be seeing a 'Weeds'-type operation," Fried said. "It will likely be a very specialized pharmacy."

Third Ward Councilman Nick Lewis said he backs the idea, "assuming it's run in a reasonable way and they're giving it to people who want it for medical needs."

Deputy Mayor Kathryn Weller-Demming believes the facility will put Montclair in an innovating place. "Montclair is the sort of progressive community that is perfect for being on the cutting edge of major reforms for access to medicine," Weller-Demming said. "People who are dying of cancer shouldn't have to break the law to be able to eat a meal."

Though 2nd Ward Councilman Cary Africk admits he doesn't "know a lot about it ... I support it and it's a good thing."

Both Councilman-at-large Roger Terry and 1st Ward Councilman Rich Murnick said they didn't know enough about the issue to make statements.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renée Baskerville, a pediatrician for the past 29 years, said that news of the center provoked her to express concern over "the increasing number of nonprofits in Montclair" because the location, wherever it may be, would pull that tract out of the property-tax base.

Baskerville, however, endorses the facility. "Anything we can do to provide the best quality of medical care we can, I'm certainly supportive of," she said.

A patient who has been approved for the program can receive no more than 2 ounces of pot in a 30-day period, according to state officials.

The penalties for sharing the marijuana, or giving it away, includes arrest and criminal prosecution, officials stated.

Patients who qualify to obtain the marijuana must meet certain requirements, like having a debilitating medical condition such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, officials said.

Terminal illness could also qualify if a physician determines a patient has less than a year to live.

The other 13 states to enact a medical marijuana law are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia has also enacted a law.

"We are now one step closer to providing patients with debilitating conditions relief from chronic pain," Health Commissioner Poonam Alaigh said in a statement.

Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey director of the Drug Policy Alliance, stated, "We are glad that the ATC licenses have been awarded but we would like more details as to when and how these organizations are going to get medical marijuana to the patients who need it. The proof in the pudding is when the patients get safe, legal and adequate access to medical marijuana."

The other organizations awarded the licenses are Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center Corp. in Manalapan; Compassionate Care Centers of America Foundation in New Brunswick; Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. in Bellmawr; Compassionate Sciences Inc., with a facility planned in Burlington or Camden counties; and Foundation Harmony in Secaucus.

For Elliott, the treatment centers "make sense."

"There are a lot of drugs, for example alcohol and tobacco, that are legal and do us a lot more harm," she said. "Maybe they should be regulated more."

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: northjersey.com
Author: Tanya Drobness
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: North Jersey Media Group
Website: Montclair nonprofit chosen to operate marijuana treatment center
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