Pubdate: Wed, 19 Dec 2012
Source: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
Copyright: 2012 Newark Morning Ledger Co
Author: Susan K. Livio


MONTCLAIR - Jay Lassiter has been HIV positive for 20 years, and for
just as long, he has been a self-described "criminal" for buying pot
to ease the gut-wrenching nausea he suffers because of his treatment.

His criminal activity ended at 2:45 pm today, when he walked out of
Greenleaf Compassion Center after making his first legal marijuana
purchase at the Bloomfield Avenue shop.

Greenleaf, New Jersey's first alternative treatment center - what the
state is calling dispensaries - opened Dec. 6. Registered patients
have been seen by appointment only so far.

"This is a joyous day," said the 40-year-old activist who lobbied
lawmakers in Trenton to pass the law permitting marijuana to be sold
as medicine.

"This will help me manage the disease that will kill me," Lassiter

He said he spent about $400 to sample the three strains of the drug
Greenleaf sells.

A quarter ounce of marijuana is selling for $110, plus sales tax,
according to patients. Lassiter is the first patient who was willing
to be identified and to discuss his experience.

All told, Lassiter has spent nearly $1,000 in doctor visits, state
registry fees and the drug "before I take my first puff."

"I am more convinced than ever this is a rich man's remedy," he

The state charges $200 for registration that lasts two years, although
people who get Medicaid or are enrolled in other low-income programs
pay $20. Greenleaf is also making discounts available based on the
patient's ability to pay.

Lassiter said he appreciated having the opportunity to talk with
professionals who know what to recommend people with HIV, and what
works better during the day versus nighttime. "It's legit," he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D