NJ's New Medical Marijuana Law Goes on the Road | NBC New York

NJ's New Medical Marijuana Law Goes on the Road



    Who can be users? And who will be the sellers? The garden state is gearing up for medical marijuana later this year, just months after the legislature passed it. There was a meeting in Jersey City tonight for potential patients. New Jersey reporter Brian Thompson was there. (Published Friday, April 23, 2010)

    There's no start date yet, but there's plenty of interest in New Jersey's brand new medical marijuana law.

    At a town hall meeting in Jersey City sponsored by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, about 20 people showed up to find out how the law will work.

    Some were patients, like Crohns Disease sufferer Eric Schwaglih, who wanted to know if his doctor in New York City can authorize him to register in New Jersey's new program. (He can't.)

    "If my doctor remains in New York, that could be a problem," Schwaglih said.

    Another questioner asked if health insurance will cover the cost. (It won't.)

    There were several questions about when medical marijuana can be legally sold. August or September appears to be the earliest possible date according to Ken Wolski, co-founder of the coalition.

    "My biggest fear is that there's going to be an unreasonable delay in the implementation of this law," feared Wolski, who should know, after saying he served 25 years in the state government bureaucracy.

    The reality is that under the law, the state has at least six months to come up with the rules for running the program, and picking the six non-profit Alternative Treatment Centers authorized to be the first to grow and sell the marijuana. The law specifically prohibits patients from growing their own, or buying it anywhere other than at an accredited center.

    Then the ATCs still have to set up shop, including growing their marijuana, presumably from seed.

    After those first six ATC's start operating, private businessmen and women can apply to open their own outlets.

    Tim Snyder is interested in doing that. Currently an IT project manager, he has already researched much of the law.

    "I think it's kind of a neat time to get in on the ground when there's a lot of excitement, a lot of interest and there's probably a lot of support," Snyder said.

    That kind of attitude has advocates excited.

    "The folks who are gonna be serious about this aren't just business people, they wanna see patients get served by this program," said the coalition's Chris Goldstein.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY