Medical Marijuana: New Jersey's Prescription Pot Moves Ahead Slowly
So we have been following developments in New Jersey's prescription pot program, and it seems like a common motif is slowness.
Yes, the state recently started registering patients, but prescription pot has been legal there since 2010!
Today brings us news that some patients are now officially eligible for curative cannabis -- and by some, we mean 50.
As detailed by The Associated Press, prescription pot proponents aren't too surprised by the "slow start," as the registry opened Aug. 9.
That doesn't mean they're happy about it, though.
According to New Jersey health officials, docs statewide described 50 patients as eligible, the AP notes.
As late as Wednesday, only 18 people had applied for the registry.
These numbers are a lot lower than other states which have launched programs.
In Arizona, for example, 718 patients put in apps "in the first week the program opened there in April 2011," the AP points out.
The Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, an advocacy group, has told reporters that the state is to blame. The organization claims that New Jersey's qualifying conditions are too strict, that curative cannabis is too costly, that "the drug in the program will be too weak and too few doctors are registered to recommend pot to patients."
They say these conditions will prompt patients to seek bud on the black market.
"It's not like they're not accessing medicine out there," Chris Goldstein, Coalition spokesman, tells the AP.
New Jersey's first dispensary, Greenleaf Compassion Center, is set to open in September.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.