New Jersey granted its first permit Monday for a Montclair facility to immediately begin growing medical marijuana, a significant step in the program first legalized more than two years ago. Greenleaf Compassion Center is also trying to secure a permit for its storefront operation. If successful, medicinal marijuana could be available to state residents with chronic diseases by midsummer, said Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Senior Services, the agency implementing the program. “The Department is committed to ensuring that medicinal marijuana is safely and securely available to patients as quickly as possible,” department Commissioner Mary O’Dowd said in a statement. Wait. Are they acting like this was their idea?
The state also released a list of more than 100 physicians on Monday that will be able to prescribe the drug to registered patients. A patient registry should be available online in the next few weeks. But hold on, Joseph Stevens, Greenleaf’s president, said he still wants more assurances from the state before beginning to plant the pot in their grow house, which is in an undisclosed location in North Jersey. He and his two partners have spent $280,000 on the program so far, Mr. Stevens said, and they want to know how many patients will be enrolling before buying materials. “It’s a good step. It seems like they got the ball rolling but we’ve heard that in the past,” said Stevens, who intends to meet with state officials next week.
The New Jersey program has encountered a number of hurdles. The Obama administration has taken a hard stance against commercial enterprises growing medical marijuana in other states. State officials say they had to evaluate their program in response. Federal law bans the possession and sale of marijuana. Dispensaries also encountered unexpected resistance when seeking permits to operate in several towns.
New Jersey Greenies, this is your tomorrow we’re talking about. Get involved. There’s more at The Wall Street Journal.
[image: google images New Jersey flag]