Wednesday, February 2, 2011

DHSS mum about Medicinal Marijuana Program conflicts

WHO: New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
WHAT: Refuses repeated attempts to clarify conflicting Medicinal Marijuana Program statements
WHEN: January and February 2011
WHERE: Trenton, New Jersey
WHY: DHSS has not responded to requests for clarification

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has published conflicting statements about its Request for Applications (RFA) by which non-profit entities may become Alternative Treatment Centers as part of the Medicinal Marijuana Program. The DHSS has refused repeated attempts to clarify the issue.

The RFA to become medical marijuana providers in the state was published on the official DHSS web site: This RFA has an announced closing date of 2/14/11. However, the proposed regulations, published on the very same web site, at "8:64-6.1 Notice of request for applications" note that the DHSS "shall announce a request for applications…for a permit to operate an alternative treatment center by publishing a notice of request for applications in the New Jersey Register." The soonest this notice of RFA could be published in the Register is 2/22/11, or after the final day of open application period noted on the DHSS web site.

It is an expensive and cumbersome process to apply to become an ATC and applicants do not want to submit an application for a process that was given improper notification. On the other hand, they do not want to be excluded either because they misinterpreted the rules or because the DHSS will change the rules when it publishes the official version. Yet the DHSS refuses to clarify whether the RFA deadline is appropriate as noted on its web site or whether a new, initial application period will be forthcoming in an upcoming New Jersey Register announcement.

For more info, contact:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana.

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