Advocates Want Medical Marijuana Program Improvements

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. March 21, 2013

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Advocates calls for more medical marijuana dispensaries (photo by Phil Gregory)

Advocates are calling for some improvements in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

Three years after the law took effect, only one of the six dispensaries authorized by the legislation is open.

Vanessa Waltz is a cancer survivor from Princeton who used marijuana illegally to ease side effects from chemotherapy.

She’s upset that new patients have to wait up to seven months to get medical marijuana.

 “After my cancer diagnosis seven months after that I had already been through months of chemotherapy, radiation, numerous surgeries. I didn’t have time to wait. You know who really doesn’t have time to wait seven months? Patients with six months to live.”

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora was one of the primary sponsors of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Of Medicinal Marijuana Act.

 He says the state needs to increase efforts to get more than one dispensary up and running.

 “It’s unfair to expect someone from Atlantic County or Cape May County to go up to Montclair on a monthly basis to get the medicinal marijuana. I think they need access. So I’m calling on everyone to increase the cultivation and to increase the compassionate.” 

The state Health Department says the alternative treatment centers have had a difficult time finding host communities, and the state is working to make sure that they’re operated by responsible individuals.


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