Today, after a delay of more than two years, patients eligible for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program were finally allowed to apply for the licenses that would protect them from arrest. Seriously ill individuals who could qualify for the program have been waiting diligently while the state government dragged its feet with implementation since the law took effect in mid-2010.
Unfortunately, it could be some time before licensed patients will be able to legally acquire their medicine. New Jersey’s law does not allow for home cultivation, and all medicine must be purchased at state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries. Licensing of these dispensaries has been consistently delayed as well. To date, only six have been granted preliminary approval, and only one is preparing to serve patients.
This is great news for the seriously ill of the Garden State and their families. If there are no further delays, patients should be able to access their medicine by the end of the year. How easily they will be able to get it will be another story, but at least licensed patients will no longer have to fear being treated like criminals for using the medicine that works best for them.