It has been five weeks since New Jersey had its first sales of recreational marijuana. This week, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved five more locations. And medical marijuana dispensaries no longer must wait a year after opening before entering the recreational adult-use market.
Assistant Health Commissioner Jeff Brown
And in front of Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D) and the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, industry leaders and marijuana advocates discussed the pace of setting up the Garden State’s recreational market, scrutinized pricing issues and griped over still-unwritten regulations for employers seeking clarity on when they can and can’t discipline employees who use cannabis.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who successfully pushed to legalize cannabis for recreational use, said he wasn’t concerned that the state may not meet a Feb. 22 deadline for selling weed to the public.
“I’d rather get it right than get it fast,” Murphy told NJ Advance Media on Sunday. “They’re doing a really good job. They want to do a job that’s different and better than any other state that’s ever done it, in particular as it relates to addressing inequities, which has been a central theme of mine.”
Serving A Greater Good
According to Jeff Brown, assistant commissioner, Medicinal Marijuana at the New Jersey Department of Health in Trenton, the legalization of recreational marijuana presents tremendous opportunities to the state on many fronts.
Not long after state Sen. Nick Scutari claimed on Tuesday legislators and regulators may “be able to flip the switch and people might be able to get marijuana, legally, right after the vote,” the head of the state medical cannabis program doused that pipe dream with a bucket of cold water.
On July 2, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law. The law set a new foundation for New Jersey’s medical cannabis program — one that is patient centered, compassionate, and scientifically focused. Since the beginning of the Murphy Administration — when only 17,000 patients were enrolled — the program has enrolled 63,000 new patients for a total of 80,000 New Jersey residents who are getting the help they need.
Alternative treatment centers are subject to longer waits than usual as medical cannabis patients line up to stock up on medicine, ATCs and patients are reporting.
Jeff Brown, assistant commissioner to the state medicinal marijuana program, said it’s not due to a lack of product, but to the same worries that have people stocking up at supermarkets and pharmacies.
New Jersey’s medical cannabis program is growing by 3,800 new patients monthly, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Health Medicinal Marijuana Program Jeff Brown told a crowd of cannabis industry folks in Edison Tuesday.
When he took his post in March 2018, the state’s canopy, or the cannabis it produced, included 45,000 plants that supported 2,000-3,000 pounds of cannabis on any given day for 13,000 patients. Two years and over 50,000 more patients later, state cannabis producers cultivate 260,000 plants, supporting 8,000 pounds of flower on the market.
GTI's store, Rise Paterson, is scheduled to open on Saturday. A ribbon cutting event and open house will be held on Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Attendees can tour the store, meet workers and learn more about New Jersey's medical marijuana program, according to GTI. Special guests include Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and New Jersey Assistant Commissioner of Health Jeff Brown.
A new tool is being used to help those addicted to opioids successfully complete the detoxification process – medical marijuana.
“Medical cannabis can help with a lot of the symptoms related to opioid withdrawal, so those include insomnia, pain, anxiety, those things can all happen when someone is withdrawing from opioids,” said state Assistant Health Commissioner Jeff Brown, who oversees the state’s medical cannabis program.