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Licenses to sell NJ medical marijuana cost $20K

medicalmarijuana011110_optBY BOB HOLT

Theories on the effectiveness of New Jersey's medical marijuana program remain in question as the state health department and Legislature continue to battle over its rules.

The health department has just released a revised set of rules for New Jersey's medical marijuana program. New Jersey's medical marijuana law was first enacted in January 2010.

The state Department of Health and Human Services also released a how-to guide for entrepreneurs who want to bid on the licensing rights to run the six alternative treatment centers selling marijuana. Licenses cost $20,000, but $18,000 would be refunded if the bidder loses.

The new rules reflect an agreement Gov. Chris Christie reached with the law's Assembly sponsor, Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), that allow for six dispensaries to operate, instead of the four the administration initially sought. reports the latest version of the controversial program's rules comes a day after Sen. Nicholas Scutari announced there would be a Jan. 20 hearing to repeal rules the department announced in October that he and patients say make access to the drug all but impossible.

The Asbury Park Press reported the state Senate voted in December to force Gov. Chris Christie's administration to rewrite proposed rules putting the medical marijuana law into effect.

Two of the four concerns specified were addressed in a compromise by Christie and Gusciora. Those were the number and responsibilities for alternative treatment centers and the conditions for when a doctor can recommend a patient for medical marijuana.

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act is already the most restrictive of all such laws in the nation, according to the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. The qualifying conditions are severely limited and include any patient with a diagnosis of less than 12 months to live. Some of the conditions are glaucoma, seizures (including epilepsy), and multiple sclerosis.

Scutari said he held out hope for a compromise. He wants the state to remove its proposed limit on the potency of the drug, and to drop the requirement that doctors must get addiction training and consent they will wean patients off the drug as soon as possible.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey also joined the contingent opposing the health department's proposed medical pot rules. The ACLU took issue with the state preventing dispensaries from advertising their products or sharing prices over the telephone.

Comments (6)
6 Monday, 14 February 2011 10:48
Phillip Langer
The point that seems to be missed by most is that marijuana should wholly and completely be legalized in the state. Medical marijuana is just a temporary step on the way to total legalization. The fact that the government must include the pharmaceutical industry and insurance company in on the profits generated from the sale of marijuana is more complicit insider profiteering for those that seem to thrive on capitalism without concern for the benefit of the citizenry as a whole. Why are they limiting the types of pain and suffering? Why must doctors receive training not necessary for the prescribing of oxycodin? Why are the THC levels in question when many prescribed drugs have variable strengths? Why the $20,000 fee to open a business? Why can't citizens go out to their own garden and grow a plant that will enable them the ability to enjoy a comfort that may allow them to live a more pleasant life?
5 Sunday, 30 January 2011 20:00
Someone didn't do their homework: doctors are required to get addiction training and to wean patients off the drug? They don't need to do that for the thousands of pharmaceuticals they prescribe every year! One must ponder the fact that the pharm. companies don't want to see medical marijuana on the market. I'm sure more people would gravitate towards natural (green) treatment than to get hooked on every other type of near death-causing, addictive, riddle- with- side- effects- galore prescriptions. Open your eyes people! The war on drugs needs to be focused on the pharmaceutical giants that have addicted millions and then reaches into our pockets and takes indiscriminately. They are the enemy. They are the crooks!
4 Sunday, 16 January 2011 16:11
One would think the DEA and ONDCP has doctors or scientists on staff.
Sadly this is not so - we would like to see that changed and believe it is a step to change.

Please sign the letter petition to appoint a doctor or scientist to the DEA and ONDCP.

Thank you!
3 Saturday, 15 January 2011 11:04
Marilee Kauffman
I was hit by a truck 11 years ago...broke my pelvis in four places, TBI Brain injury, 7 herniated disks, nerve damage in both arms and legs...fibromyolgia and RA, OA and Inflammatory arthritis. Just to name a few things...I take 4, 15 mg, roxicodone a day. And quite a few other LEGAL drugs...why if medical marijuana could help wont this state let me buy it ?? Amazing !
2 Saturday, 15 January 2011 10:36
Craig Canada
More to the point, why should it cost any more to license a MEDICAL marijauna dispensary, than a pharmacy?
1 Saturday, 15 January 2011 10:27
Craig Canada
How much does it cost to license a pharmacy in New Jersey?

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