New Jersey Gets First Medical Marijuana Dispensary. New York Still Weighing "Risks"
Today, about 20 medical marijuana patients will meet with staff at the Greenleaf Compassion Center, New Jersey's first medical marijuana facility to open its doors since the state passed a law legalizing prescription pot in 2010.
While medical weed is now legal in the Garden State -- as we've chronicled -- "progressive" New York is still weighing the "risks" of allowing sick people to treat their ailments with weed, rather than other prescription medications that, in most cases, are far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.
In October, New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd announced that Greenleaf was the first state-sanctioned distributor of medical marijuana, following several hurdles that have delayed the implementation of the state's medical marijuana law.
"This permit marks a significant step forward in the implementation of New Jersey's Medicinal Marijuana Program and allows Greenleaf Compassion Center to begin dispensing medicinal marijuana to qualified patients," O'Dowd said in a statement. "The Department is working with all ATCs to ensure the program serves patients safely and securely."
O'Dowd says that 320 patients have either registered with the program or are in the process of completing registration. Additionally, 175 physicians have registered.
"This is a new product. Patients may want to make a limited purchase initially until they know which of the three available varieties best meets their needs," O'Dowd continues.
Five other "Alternative Treatment Centers" are in various stages of finalizing locations or background checks to determine whether they qualify for the program.
The New Jersey law allows people with various illnesses -- including multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and terminal cancer -- to legally treat their diseases with marijuana, which is proven to relieve pain and nausea.
A similar medical marijuana law has passed in the New York State Legislature, but Governor Andrew Cuomo -- a likely 2016 presidential candidate -- has said he won't sign it, despite his advocating for the decriminalization of "public view" marijuana possession (more on that here).
As we've noted in several prior posts, Cuomo said earlier this year that he's "studying" the pros and cons of medical marijuana, but that he wants the Legislature to fine-tune the bill into something he'd consider signing (we suspect Cuomo's stance on medical weed has something to do with his presidential ambitions).
"There are tremendous risks," the governor told reporters in April. "I think the risks outweigh the benefits at this point."
We repeatedly asked the governor's office what "risks" he was referring to. We've repeatedly been given no answer.
Greenleaf will meet with patients in the order in which they received their medical marijuana cards.
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