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.