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The commission is set to meet for its monthly meeting Thursday, where it will discuss an array of topics, including making curbside pickup and home delivery permanent, bringing down the cost of medical marijuana cards, and approving another 81 cannabis licenses.
But notably missing from the agenda are two long-awaited topics: workplace regulations for employers who suspect a worker is high on the job, and the approval of edibles like brownies, cookies, and chocolate bars.
In October, 2021, the state approved 14 permits, mostly for growers. Others are still waiting
A backlog of permit approvals is just one hurdle.
There are also issues about what products, such as edibles, will be sold and in what forms.
New Jersey law currently bans most edibles, including gummies and other candy forms of cannabis, in an effort to keep the products from appealing to children.
Patient advocates filed complaints with the state Division of Consumer Affairs earlier this month to accuse medicinal marijuana operators of price-gouging, charging as much as $480 for an ounce of cannabis.
A state investigator replied promptly to say there was no legal recourse.
However, at its last meeting, the CRC invited input from invited guests and the public about how to handle these products, New Jersey 101.5 reported, and some provided feedback indicating that regulators should reconsider the ban.
“Any form of edibles should be permitted as long as the regulatory procedures are followed,” Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, told the commission, according to New Jersey 101.5. “There should be no arbitrary exclusions placed on cannabis products.”
When Gerry McGrath learned Barnegat Township planned to ban local marijuana sales, she decided she needed some answers from her town’s governing body.
Gerry, a retired nurse, saved her questions for the public hearing on the ordinance that would ultimately prohibit recreational cannabis sales in the southern Ocean County community.
“So to truly legalize cannabis home growers should be an option, “Gopal said. “It’s no different than other states like California who have adopted this… . The reality is, as a country and as a state, we’ve spent billions of dollars on the failed war on drugs. And this is just one piece of making sure that it’s truly legalized.”
Police can no longer arrest people for possessing marijuana but there is no legal way to buy it right now. Marijuana industry expert Mike McQueeny says this could be a quicker way to access legal weed. Setting up dispensaries will take longer.
Officials have urged people to have a two-week supply of medication, but for patients who rely on medical marijuana, that’s not so easy. Purchase limits, shortages brought on by a growing number of patients in the small program and high costs all coalesce to make stocking up on weed a challenge.
And the state’s medical marijuana program, which has ballooned to include more than 70,000 patients, still has just six cultivation sites and nine dispensaries.
Four medicinal marijuana advocates addressed the Roseland Borough Council on Tuesday to question the recent adoption of an ordinance that prohibits the sale, dispensing and manufacturing of medical marijuana within the borough.
None of the speakers were residents of the borough, but all of them had reason to believe the borough should reconsider the ordinance that was passed in October 2019.
The New Jersey Legislature last year finally jump-started its medicinal cannabis program after nearly a decade of over-regulation-induced dysfunction. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act (CUMCA) Jake’s Law was passed in July, promising patients expanded access to cannabis, with a variety of cannabis products and at a more reasonable, affordable price. But so far only one new alternative treatment center has opened and prices are still the highest in the country.
Assistant Health Commissioner Jeff Brown, who oversees New Jersey’s medicinal cannabis program, has told the state’s six nonprofit marijuana treatment centers that if they apply to become for-profit entities, they must first present the Health Department with a plan for how they will lower costs for patients.
Ken Wolski, the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, said Wednesday that it’s vitally important to lower medical marijuana prices because many patients are limited financially.