Friday, March 2, 2012

Christie says he can't force municipalities to take medical marijuana treatment facilities

According to The Star Ledger, 03/01/12:

"In a live interview with Steve Adubato, Gov. Chris Christie said that hold up on medical marijuana treatment centers are not a state issue. The local municipalities keep turning them away so the facilities can't be established and that is what is causing the delay in implementing the medical marijuana law in New Jersey."
(Christie says he can't force municipalities to take medical marijuana treatment facilities )

It is completely disingenuous of Governor Christie to now say it is the fault of the local townships and municipalities in New Jersey that there are no Alternative Treatment Centers open to dispense medical marijuana to patients.

First of all, the state has never actually issued permits to any of these ATCs to open—over two full years after the bill became law. The state of New Jersey (read, Gov. Christie) has imposed one delay after another on this program. Now each employee and officer of every ATC has to undergo an incredibly detailed background check to make sure he or she is moral enough to dispense marijuana. Until that’s done, the ATC can’t even get started, even though the applications were supposedly approved by the state health department a year ago this month.

Secondly, the 100-plus pages of regulations drawn up to enact this law are a monument to unwieldy bureaucracy. These regulations guarantee that this program, if it ever gets working at all, will only dispense poor quality and limited selection marijuana to the fewest possible patients. Right now it is very close to that, distributing no marijuana to zero patients. (Not a single patient yet has an ID card.) Despite the overwhelming public outcry at these regulations, the inflexible Christie administration did not make a single change following the public comment period.

No, the buck stops at Mr. Christie on this one. He, and he alone, is responsible for the unconscionable delay in getting the Medicinal Marijuana Program started in New Jersey. He, and he alone, is responsible for tens of thousands of patients suffering needlessly and indefinitely in this state.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. If only the original bill had been kept and patients could grow their own plants. Then most patients would have had access almost as soon as they set up a patient registry. Most of Christie's stated reasons for delaying the program would not have applied. I still feel like we need to get the legislators to add patient growing given the huge delay of setting up the program.