New Jersey’s medical marijuana industry is struggling to gain traction, with dispensary owners saying the state’s process for registering patients is severely limiting the market.
Just six months after opening, Compassionate Care Foundation in south New Jersey has only attracted 600 or so patients. The number is far lower than the 5,000 patients Compassionate Care CEO Bill Thomas projected for its first year.
The climate is so challenging that Thomas has delayed a $357,000 expansion to his cultivation facility.
Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair – the first dispensary to open in New Jersey – has only 300 patients, while Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge currently serves 1,300 patients even though it has the ability to handle up to 25,000, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Currently, about 2,200 patients have registered with the state to purchase cannabis. Advocates believe the state’s process for registering medical marijuana patients is cumbersome and expensive, which turns potential customers away.
Patients say the registration process takes three months on average and costs about $1,000, including doctor visits. Once registered, patients can only purchase marijuana flowers, which run about $400 an ounce.
Advocates are trying to widen the net of patients to increase business. The Alternative Treatment Center Association, which represents the dispensaries, recently submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Health Department to allow delivery of medical marijuana to hospice facilities, hospitals and nursing homes.
The group also proposed a plan to allow the creation of marijuana lozenges, topical lotion, skin patches and capsules.
The movement to reform our failed cannabis policies has grown tremendously in recent years and months. It's not slowing down anytime soon. Cannabis reform is a mainstream issue, and frankly, there's no denying it. A majority in the county support legalizing cannabis, and 81% support its legalization for medical purposes. On top of this, a majority of states in our country (27 in total) have either decriminalized cannabis possession (14), or legalized it for medical and/or recreational purposes (18). The remaining states are hard at work towards reform, and advocates in the states mentioned above are vehemently trying to improve their situation. For those who have been on the line about getting involved in helping bring cannabis law change, now is absolutely the time to jump in. Below is a breakdown of efforts going on around the country: Alabama: In Alabama, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition has announced that they're working on 5 cannabis-related bills; everything from simple (though substantial) patient protections, to full legalization. The first of these five to be filed, House Bill 315, has been assigned to the House Committee on Health. The bill would provide prosecution protection for patients who possess and cultivate cannabis, as long as they get a recommendation from a doctor, and then a license from the state's Department of Health (which will determine the possession limits). Arizona: In Arizona, Republican representatives are attempting to repeal the state's medical cannabis laws, by putting it, once again, to a vote of the people. Arizona...
Doctors Able to Register Patients and Patients Will Receive ID Cards State Website Updated With Comprehensive Information Including Interactive Map for Finding Doctors Patients, Families and Advocates Celebrate Long-Awaited Milestone It's been a long wait -- too long, for many patients who never lived to see the day -- but legal medical marijuana is coming to New Jersey. The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act reached will reach a major milestone on Thursday when the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services opens the patient registration process. Doctors who are treating qualifying patients will then be able to enter those patients into the patient registration system. Those patients can then apply for the registration cards that will allow them to purchase medical marijuana at one of the state's Alternative Treatment Centers. The first center, in Montclair, expects to begin dispensing medical marijuana to patients in September or October. New Jersey's medical marijuana law unfortunately doesn't allow home cultivation by patients. The law was enacted on January 18, 2010 but the implementation process has been slow, due to what many activists see as deliberate foot-dragging on the part of Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The law legalizing medical marijuana was signed by Christie's predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, on his last day in office. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Medical Marijuana Program, updated its website earlier this week with comprehensive information, including patient registration information. Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director for Drug Policy Alliance...