Medical Marijuana: The Facts

Jul 22, 2012

Christie Admin­is­tra­tion Has Been Respon­sive on Issue I was sur­prised and sad­dened to see the edi­to­r­ial Wednes­day titled “Med mar­i­juana: What’s the deal?” The Asbury Park Press’ edi­to­r­ial board is typ­i­cally thor­ough and fac­tu­ally accu­rate, but in this instance it couldn’t be more off the mark. While this pro­gram appeared to get off to a slow start, we have seen real, and sub­stan­tial, progress over the past year, par­tic­u­larly the past few months. The prob­lem right now isn’t the pro­gram or the progress.  The prob­lem is the Press’ lack of fac­tual fol­lowup.  The same day the edi­to­r­ial appeared in the Press, an arti­cle ran in The Wall Street Jour­nal titled, “Legal for some, pot crops up in N.J.,” high­light­ing the head­way being made in our pro­gram. The same peo­ple whom the Press quotes as tak­ing issue with the admin­is­tra­tion – quotes from months ago – are quoted from the past few days prais­ing the peo­ple in the Christie admin­is­tra­tion and the folks directly run­ning the pro­gram.  That is down­right sloppy – and ulti­mately unfair to those of us who have bro­ken our butts to get this pro­gram on track and mov­ing for­ward. One facil­ity run by the Green­leaf cen­ter is already grow­ing plants that are now a foot high.  They should begin dis­pens­ing the much-needed med­i­cine to patients as early as mid-September.  A sec­ond facil­ity run by the Com­pas­sion­ate Care Foun­da­tion hopes to have a crop ready by Novem­ber.  The claim that none of the cen­ters around the state have begun oper­at­ing is just plain wrong. The edi­to­r­ial says the Christie admin­is­tra­tion is at the heart of the delays, yet the Jour­nal arti­cle quotes Bill Thomas, CEO of Com­pas­sion­ate Care, as say­ing, “We have had com­plete coöper­a­tion with the Depart­ment of Health.  They are help­ing us.” While these two facil­i­ties are mov­ing for­ward, the other four are “search­ing or in nego­ti­a­tions for loca­tions,” accord­ing to the Depart­ment of Health. In my efforts to move this pro­gram for­ward, I have found the admin­is­tra­tion to be respon­sive to fair and legit­i­mate ques­tions or issues every step of the way.  John O’Brien, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the med­i­c­i­nal mar­i­juana pro­gram appointed by the gov­er­nor, and Char­lie McKenna, the governor’s chief coun­sel, have received well-deserved praise from the peo­ple legit­i­mately try­ing to move their oper­a­tions for­ward. My office has reached out to every one of the approved enti­ties.  Some have really engaged and some have com­pletely blown off offers of help – — now hav­ing only them­selves to blame for their lack of progress.  But no entity at this point can legit­i­mately blame the admin­is­tra­tion for a lack of progress. If all of the approved enti­ties don’t begin to move for­ward, we will at some point have to con­sider revok­ing the approvals of those not mov­ing for­ward, and reis­sue those rights to other enti­ties.  While the guide­lines the Christie admin­is­tra­tion put in place are strict, it is the high bar set by those guide­lines that has given our pro­gram here in New Jer­sey the extremely high level of cred­i­bil­ity it has through­out the coun­try.  The pro­grams in Cal­i­for­nia and Col­orado are com­plete dis­as­ters by com­par­i­son.  The strict reg­u­la­tions in New Jer­sey destroy the argu­ments of any­one fear-mongering or cast­ing asper­sions on our pro­gram or med­ical mar­i­juana in gen­eral. We all want our patients suf­fer­ing from ill­ness and chronic pain to get relief, but we also need to make sure we put the right pro­gram in place and admin­is­ter it thor­oughly and care­fully, to build cred­i­bil­ity with a some­what skep­ti­cal pub­lic.  The polls show a major­ity of peo­ple favor med­ical mar­i­juana, but too many folks then turn around and say they don’t want the facil­i­ties in their back yard.  The com­pre­hen­sive, clear, con­sis­tent and strict design of our pro­gram – a design devised by the Christie admin­is­tra­tion – should allay any rea­son for fear. Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ) Copy­right: 2012 Asbury Park Press Con­tact: yourviews@​app.​com Web­site: http://​www​.app​.com/ Author: Declan O’Scanlon

 Medical Marijuana: The Facts

Orig­i­nally posted here:
Med­ical Mar­i­juana: The Facts

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