Thursday, January 14, 2010
NJ: Medical marijuana law offers new centralized approach
by Chris Goldstein - New Jersey will try a new approach for a medical marijuana program. Already allowed in 13 states and recently in the District of Columbia, regulated cannabis access has been put in place elsewhere with a network of caregivers, cultivators and compassion centers. But in New Jersey the entire process would be centralized in an innovative way. The new model needs to work because unlike the 13 other states, NJ residents will not be allowed to grow their own marijuana.
The Legislature passed The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act on 1/11/2010. Outgoing Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign the bill into law very soon. Advocates predict that by the end of 2010 patients will be able to register and access legal medical cannabis.
The bill states that the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) must promulgate rules for the patient/caregiver registry system along with a permit process and regulations for the Alternative Treatment Centers. Those rules must be created within six months, expect to see them around July 2010.
After those rules are issued, patients can register and ATC’s can begin to be authorized. So how will it work?
NJ Medical Marijuana process
Step 1 – Doctor and Patient consultation
Step 2 – Application to the program
Step 3 - Registry card issued (A single caregiver per patient may now apply)
Step 4 – Note for 30-day supply, determined by physician, up to 2oz every month
Step 5 – Patient or Caregiver go to Alternative Treatment Center to access marijuana
Step 6 – Doctor must re-authorize monthly supply every 30-90 days
New Jersey’s new model for dispensing medical marijuana will see Alternative Treatment Centers required to grow, cure and produce all marijuana products (such as edible preparations) as well as dispense the cannabis on a single site. An ATC would also be allowed to sell marijuana consumption devices such as pipes and vaporizers.
This would create the most comprehensive medical marijuana production facilities outside of the federal government’s program at the University of Mississippi. In other states groups of cultivators send their marijuana to dispensaries or compassion centers.
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Chris Goldstein has been actively working on medical marijuana in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He can be reached for media requests email@example.com