New Jersey’s medical marijuana program was scheduled to take effect six months after it was passed in January 2010. The bill gave New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services three months to figure out licensing and regulations to open six dispensaries to the state’s qualified medical pot patients.
Now, three years later, only one medical cannabis dispensary is in operation. Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair, which opened last December, has a waiting list 1,000 patients long. And according to some patients, there just isn’t enough pot for those in need.
Legal supply of medical cannabis is unlikely to increase any time soon as the five other dispensaries are still months away from opening.
Many blame Gov Chris Christie for “stonewalling” the program. New Jersey already has what many consider the most restrictive medical pot law in the nation and Christie is accused of making the dispensary approval process nearly impossible. Christie also put a former police veteran who had specialized in criminal records in charge of the program.
However, others blame the Dept of Health and Senior Services for the program’s problems. One of the 199 physicians allowed to recommend pot to patients in New Jersey accused the Department of being unorganized and treating the program's implementation as a “criminal enterprise.”