New Jersey Draft Regulations Harshly Restrictive, Cannabis Advocates Say

NORML is reporting this week that advocates of medical marijuana in New Jersey are critical of various draft regulations being circulated by the state Department of Health. The regulations in question are meant to implement the New Jersey Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act, which went into effect on October 1st. Pro-medicinal cannabis advocates, including the chief legislative sponsor of the act, believe that the measures being proposed are both too restrictive and unresponsive to patient needs.

Under the regulations being proposed, by July of next year the state will begin overseeing the distribution of medical marijuana to state-authorized patients. The manufacture of medical marijuana would be restricted to two licensed facilities, and the percentage of THC allowed to be present in the plans would be limited to a maximum of ten percent. In addition, the state wants to limit the varieties of cannabis allowed to be produced to a maximum of three separate strains. Four additional state-licensed facilities would be allowed to dispense cannabis (but not produce any) and patients would be limited to two ounces of marijuana per month, with no right to grow their own or share with other registered patients.

Patients violating those strictures would be subject to criminal prosecution.

Senator Nick Scutari, the democrat who sponsored the Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act, said that the regulations “significantly alter state law.” The original verbiage in the law mandates a total of six cultivation and distribution centers to be licensed throughout the state of New Jersey.

Chris Goldstein of the New Jersey branches of both NORML and the Coalition for Medical Marijuana is also critical of the draft regulations, declaring in a prepared statement, “Rather than create a reasonable set of regulations, the Christie Administration is playing politics with the lives of New Jersey’s most severely ill residents. Instead of opening a pathway to safe marijuana access these draft regulations only create more barriers.”

Health regulators have 60 days to review the regulations and accept public comment.

Speaking at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie said that he “would not have signed the law,” which was approved by former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.
The full text of the draft rules is available here:

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One Response to New Jersey Draft Regulations Harshly Restrictive, Cannabis Advocates Say

  1. The proposed NJ regulations were NOT drafted from the perspective of patients, that is for sure. New Jersey is a large state with over 10 million residents. The proposed regulations, which allow for only 2 growers for the entire state is a bad decision on so many grounds. What if one growers’ crop went bad, for reasons of mites, temperature problems, environmental issues, ventilation mistakes, etc. [GROWING MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS NOT A PERFECT SCIENCE; PROBLEMS HAPPEN]. So the PATIENTS are at risk of possibly not having medicine even once the program is established.

    Furthermore, the regulations only permit 3 strains of medical cannabis to be grown by each of the 2 Growers, (6 strains total for the state). My question is: HOW CAN THERE EVER BE A 7TH STRAIN (which may help patients more)? Who is doing this research, and how? Again, patients are at risk of medicine that is less than industry standard. 3 strains max is simply foolish!

    And that leads me into the most atrocious part of the proposed regulations — the maximum amount of THC allowed by law in the medical marijuana sold to patients in NJ will be 10% THC — which is significantly lower than what is offered to patients in other States (15-20% THC on average0. First, where do the seeds be found even to grow medical cannabis with a THC content of 10%? Second and most troubling, since research shows that cannabis is the Number 1 most-sought commodity on the planet, and also that some patients require medical marijuana with a higher THC content than 10%, the 10% cap will certainly encourage some patients in New Jersey to make the choice to purchase stronger medical cannabis on the open market, so that they can achieve the medical relief they need. New Jersey has come so far to help suffering patients — How can the program put in place be so INSENSITIVE TO PATIENTS?

    People who oppose the medicinal use of cannabis by patients are forgetting the fact that life is fragile. Each of us — and everyone we love and care about — is just ONE DIAGNOSIS away from being a patient him or herself. And when it is someone you love who is suffering, you will do whatever is necessary to bring them dignity, comfort, and compassion (which includes the ingestion of medical marijuana where appropriate).