egg harbor

New Jersey: Gov. Christie Says Medical Marijuana 'A Front For Legalization'


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If there was any doubt in anyone's mind about just how ignorant New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is when it comes to medicinal cannabis, the big guy has put those doubts to rest. Following reports that patient enrollment in the state's medical marijuana program is low (due largely to his own foot-dragging and ineffective implementation), Christie called the New Jersey program and others like it across the nation "a front for legalization."

The New Jersey Legislature passed the state's medical marijuana law back in 2009, and former Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, signed it just before he left office. The Christie Administration, since then, has been notably slow in implementing the program; the first dispensary didn't open until December 2012, reports Brent Johnson at The Star-Ledger.

Only 2,342 patients have signed up for New Jersey's medical marijuana program, after initial predictions had estimated tens of thousands of patients might be helped. Last week, the president and CEO of Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc., in Egg Harbor -- one of only three operational dispensaries in the state -- announced he is quitting because, he said, he couldn't keep working for no pay.

New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Program Struggling Under Rigid Rules, High Costs


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When New Jersey's medical marijuana law was being written and passed, it was often boasted that it was "the strictest in the nation," as if serving fewer patients was somehow something to brag about. Now, after initial predictions that the program could serve tens of thousands of patients, only 2,342 have signed up, a participation rate so small some worry about the future of the program.

Lawmakers, some dispensary operators and patients blame the low enrollment on New Jersey's strict rules, high costs for both patients and growers, and Governor Chris Christie's barely concealed hostility to the program, including his contention that he doesn't need to do anything to boost participation, reports Susan K. Livio at The Star-Ledger.

One major roadblock, according to almost everyone involved, is that so few physicians in New Jersey are willing to authorize patients for medical marijuana.

"We have a dysfunctional program, and I think it's going to take some sort of 'pot summit' bringing together patients, doctors and legislators to really make this a success," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the lead sponsors of the law.

New Jersey: Youngest Medical Marijuana Patient, 2, Finally Gets Her Turn


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey's youngest medical marijuana patient, two-and-a-half-year-old Vivian Wilson, left the Compassionate Care Foundation medicinal cannabis dispensary Monday in a stroller, holding a stuffed toy dog, with her parents Brian and Meghan Wilson of Scotch Plains.

It was a moment to remember for the dispensary, which finally opened on Monday, nearly four years after the state passed its medical marijuana law, reports Susan K. Livio at The Star-Ledger. It was perhaps an even more important moment for the Wilsons and for other families with critically ill children in New Jersey.

Monday marked the first time a New Jersey family was able to buy the form of marijuana that in other states has helped quell the severe seizures that have stunted Vivian Wilson's development, and could take her life. Vivian has a rare and dangerous form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, and conventional medicine just hasn't helped much.

New Jersey: 2nd Medical Marijuana Dispensary Expects To Open In September

(Photo: Edward Lea/Press of Atlantic City)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three years after then-Gov. Jon Corzine signed a medical marijuana bill into law, New Jersey patients still only have one operating dispensary at which to gain safe access to medicinal cannabis. But that could change in September.

A second medical marijuana dispensary expects to open for business on September 9, a state official said on Monday, saving Egg Harbor Township residents a drive to Essex County, reports Derek Harper at Press of Atlantic City.

Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. expects about 500 patients per month, according to state Department of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner. The DOH regulates the state's medical marijuana program, for which 885 patients have so far registered.

As many as 16,000 plants will be cultivated at the Egg Harbor Township facility, raising interesting questions about the possibility of federal enforcement actions (the Feds have typically been attracted to grows of more than 100 plants, since the 10-year federal mandatory minimum for marijuana cultivation kicks in at that point).

One local medical marijuana supporter said he was disappointed that the dispensary isn't already open.

New Jersey: State's Second Marijuana Dispensary To Open In September

(Photo of Compassionate Care Foundation chief executive William Thomas: Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A huge warehouse that once housed Donald Trump's surplus blackjack tables in an industrial park outside Atlantic City will be the site of South Jersey's first medical marijuana farm -- the second in the entire state -- where plants will be started next month and cannabis is scheduled to be sold starting on September 9.

The state's second "alternative treatment center" will be opening in Egg Harbor more than three years after the state's medical marijuana program became law, reports Jan Hefler at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Only force majeure could stop us... or acts of God," said William Thomas, chief executive at Compassionate Care Foundation, as he monitored the progress of his $1.7 million renovation project last week.

Although three previous launch dates have failed to materialize, the plan now has momentum, according to Thomas.

Once Compassionate Care gets the final go-ahead from New Jersey to begin cultivation, 2,000 marijuana seeds will be imported from Spain, which produces strains that target spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, Thomas said. Lights are being installed in the 85,000-square-foot warehouse to grow the crop.

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