Pubdate: Sat, 24 Mar 2012
Source: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
Copyright: 2012 Newark Morning Ledger Co


Sick people still in pain after two years will have to wait even 
longer, thanks to delays in opening New Jersey's legal medical 
marijuana centers.

Some municipalities have put up zoning laws to bar them from opening, 
based on irrational fears that they'll lure criminals and federal 
drug raids. And Gov. Chris Christie seems to be deliberately 
dawdling, because he doesn't like this law, passed in the Corzine era.

Now, the head of Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair is now 
threatening to quit. And Joe Stevens' frustration is understandable, 
considering how he's been strung along.

He found a site, invested $170,000 and was supposed to start growing 
medical marijuana this month, he says. But no longer. He still has no 
idea when he can open for business. The state keeps dangling 
promises, but hasn't issued a final permit.

There's no justifiable need for these delays. Our state's medical 
marijuana law -- the most restrictive in the nation -- is two years 
old now, but medicinal pot still isn't available to patients. The law 
allows only six outlets, and patients must have a serious disease, 
such as cancer or multiple sclerosis.

People who use pot recreationally have no problem getting it. It's 
the sick, law-abiding citizens who really need it that are made to suffer.

Christie can't force towns to accept these centers if they don't want 
them. But in this case, Montclair has accepted the center. It's the 
administration that hasn't -- saying its application is "still under review."

Enough with the bureaucratic nonsense. Remember, Christie swore he'd 
cut through all our state's unnecessary red tape. He's found a way to 
do that with most of our environmental protections, thanks to the 
Department of Environmental Protection's sweeping "waiver rule."

Meanwhile, people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain are told 
they must wait.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom