Retired State Police Lt. John O'Brien to oversee N.J.'s medical marijuana program | Healthquest | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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Retired State Police Lt. John O'Brien to oversee N.J.'s medical marijuana program

medicalmarijuana061711_optRetired State Police lieutenant John H. O'Brien Jr., was named Tuesday as the first director of New Jersey’s state-run Compassionate Use Medicinal Marijuana program.

O'Brien, 51, of Manchester, most recently served as assistant bureau chief for the state Bureau of Identification, where he managed a staff of 120 and nine units which conduct criminal background checks and licensing investigations. The 26-year State Police veteran is described as an expert in the use of FBI and New Jersey criminal history record systems.

State Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd said O'Brien was selected “to bring leadership, oversight and integrity necessary for the program’s continued implementation and security.”

The commissioner said O’Brien "has the expertise to get this program up and running with integrity. No Alternative Treatment Center will be issued a permit to grow or dispense medicinal marijuana until each applicant, its officers, board members and employees have been thoroughly vetted and have met all regulatory requirements.”

“I am appreciative of the confidence and support shown to me by Commissioner O‘Dowd,” O‘Brien said. “I believe the administration and the Legislature have developed a firm foundation on which to build this program. I look forward to the opportunity to successfully bring the program to full implementation."

Under O’Brien, the State Police created and implemented a program that provided immediate federal and state criminal history record checks of firearms purchasers. O‘Brien also created a secure and consumer-friendly program that allows a private vendor to provide fingerprint capture services for applicants for jobs as teachers, child care workers and nurses aides, eliminating the burden on police departments.

O'Brien will join the Department on Monday and will report to Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito.

One of O’Brien’s first actions is expected to be picking up the unfinished vetting of the six nonprofit dispensary operators the state has selected to provide the marijuana. Each operator must complete a 71-page permitting questionnaire and all employees must undergo police and FBI background checks. O’Brien’s staff will than take two months to evaluate the information before issuing the final permits. Once the permits are issued, the operators may begin growing marijuana.

The medical marijuana program is will not be in operation until sometime next year.

The Star-Ledger reports that the marijuana program, has been mainly idle since the Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine approved the law nearly two years ago.

Four separate centers are challenging the state’s selection process, The Star-Ledger reports. I.D. cards have not been made, and the Health Department is unsure if it will even publish the names of 108 physicians who have pre-registered for the program, leaving patients unsure of how they can find an appropriate doctor.

For more information on the Medicinal Marijuana program visit: nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana.

—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 
Comments (2)
2 Saturday, 23 March 2013 12:31
Rev GUENTHER FRITSCH
DEAR LT,
BE PRAYING FOR YOU IN THIS NEW IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY! GOD BLESS! 2-Timothy 2:3. GOOD TO BE WITH YOU AT TODAYS "PRAYER BREAKFAST" AT OUR "CHEWS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH" HELD FOR US ALL MILITARY & VETERANS! 2-Corinthians 1:8--11. YOURS IN CHRIST, Rev GUENTHER "Red Baron"
1 Monday, 05 December 2011 14:19
Bonnie Holden
Lemme see. Didn't I see John Corzine's name in the news recently? For fraud? There is barely a program being run by the State of New Jersey today that isn't riddled with fraud. Either legalize the grass and allow New Jerseyians to smoke the stuff in the streets or take this legislation off the books entirely. I suggest this State clean up the cronyism first before they add another ingredient to the pot (s'cuse the pun)! Exactly how much money will it cost the taxpayers this time to oversee this legislation? Stop with this nonsense. Governor Christie has been spending too much of his time cleaning up the slop Corzine and his predecessors left behind! He certainly doesn't need another frivolous law on the books to monitor.

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