If Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has its way with the state’s medical marijuana program, Rutgers University’s agricultural center will grow all of the medical marijuana in New Jersey, and hospitals will be responsible for dispensing it to patients.
This would make New Jersey the first of all the 14 medical marijuana states to run a centralized production and distribution system, if of course legislators agree with the administration to amend New Jersey’s medical marijuana law. Critics are torn on whether this is good news or bad news.
On one hand, growing medical marijuana at a university would surely be, as Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer)described it, “a great opportunity academic-wise ... to be the cutting edge of developing new strains of marijuana that deal with illness.’’
But on the other hand, this would mean that private growers and dispensaries wouldn’t be able to enter New Jersey’s budding new marijuana industry. And many are worried that these changes would add even more restrictions to the most conservative medical marijuana laws in the country.
Critics also claim that this is just one more way Governor Christie is delaying the implementation of the medical cannabis bill that would allow sick people to get medical marijuana legally by registering with the state and obtaining a medical marijuana card. The bill was supposed to have taken effect next month, but administration has sought up to a year’s delay. There are currently more than 5000 patients in New Jersey that are in need of medical marijuana, and are anxiously awaiting Christie’s decision.