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Column: State Must Speed Up Medical Pot Availability‏

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Just a reminder why the Homegrowing patient/caregiver system is so instrumental in the current environment and likely for years to come.

"Safe Access" quite often equals "No Access".

A typical problem in Dispensary only(near only) states.

It is a common misunderstanding of how the cannabis trade actually works. Plus,... $527 an ounce? Ouchie. Twice the price. And it is tentuple the price for the dispensary compared to growing yourself.

Anyhow,... we knew this new commercial only language from MPP and DPA was going to result in this problem. Without allowing home production privately for thousands of people, the "system" just won;t work. As here, regulations, costs and licensing delays are an expected problem which cannot be beaten without allowing the home growers to exist.



I mean 3 years. Could you imagine if this happened in Michigan? April 2012 and there is still only one source for cannabis at $527/oz, a 7 month waiting period, and no other legal way to get it because the commercial people got greedy and blocked out home growing.





Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Pubdate: Mon, 25 Mar 2013
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2013 The Daily Record
Contact: letters@dailyrecord.com
Website: http://www.dailyrecord.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/112
Author: Bob Ingle


TRENTON - When it was passed by the Legislature and signed into law
it was called the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
Three years later it's hard to find the compassion.

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey brought its appeal to
media at the Statehouse, where activist/patient Jay Lassiter spoke
the obvious: "New Jersey's medical marijuana program is not where it
should be three years into its implementation."

He called it "over-regulated, over-taxed and inaccessible" for
patients in the lower two-thirds of the state. This might be just
another story in government incompetence except for the people in
need. In many cases they are terminally ill.

Vanessa Waltz of Princeton was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in
her mid-30s. Her chemotherapy treatment was especially hard. "During
chemo I thought many times about quitting treatment, and I thought I
would rather die than continue. But marijuana gave me hope. It made
my crippling headaches disappear, stopped me from throwing up all the
pills I had to take and helped me realize that I could get through this."

Since the one dispensary currently operational in New Jersey is in
Montclair, she said, patients have been told the wait is seven
months. "You know who can't wait seven months? People with six months
to live." On Thursday, operators of Greenleaf Compassion Center in
Montclair had more bad news. The only new patients accepted will be
from North Jersey, the area for which it is licensed, according to
published reports.

Long waits can turn patients, family or care-givers into criminals.
With no other options, Waltz turned to the streets for pot. When you
do that not only are you breaking the law, but you have to deal with
some scary people and pay a premium and maybe be ripped off.

The medical marijuana bill was signed into law by former Gov. Jon
Corzine. When Chris Christie came in, he wanted to make sure that
there was not widespread abuse as there had been in California. No
one would argue with that goal, the concern is over how long it is taking.

Doctors have to be part of a physician registry before they can
prescribe medical pot. To get on it they have to take a special
course in addiction medicine. Waltz lifted two gallon-size freezer
bags that contained medicine she had been prescribed. "I would be
here all day if I told you all the side effects in these bags, but I
will list the biggies - seizure, stroke, heart attack, coma, death,
not to mention physical dependency and addiction. There's morphine in
there. But doctors need a special additional medicine course for
medical marijuana? That's absurd."

The doctors on the registry, about 200 out of the 30,000 doctors in
the state, don't want people who are not their patients coming to
them just to get the marijuana card diagnosis, but it is easy to find
them, as the registry is public. So far more than 700 people have
been registered for the program and about 75 percent of them are
waiting to make a purchase.

When a patient clears those hurdles, there are still bumps in the
road including financial ones. Lassiter's first doctor's office visit
cost more than $200 and the diagnosis was good for 90 days. Because
of the backup, it expired before he could get to the center in
Montclair, so he had to go back to the physician. The final doctor's
cost was $400. The card itself cost $200, payable to the state and
good for two years. An ounce of marijuana cost him $527 with the $27
being sales tax to the state. He paid it out of pocket.

An advocacy group called NORML has petitioned the court in an attempt
to speed things up. "It is charging the Department of Health with
tort misconduct," said Lassiter, "because the department is stalling,
trying to rewrite the laws through regulation, which is a violation
of separation of powers. The executive branch just can't ignore
stuff. If we win, the court would demand prompt approval of the five
remaining distribution sites. Basically, the court would say obey the law."

Legal briefs are due in May, arguments in June. Lassiter and many
others in this battle hope the issue will become part of the
governor's race so that it gets a lot of attention.

The politics of it, like everything else in New Jersey, is full of
speculation and conspiracy theory. Some think Christie is not happy
the Legislature passed it and Corzine signed it on the way out of the
building, leaving Christie the headaches and critics. Others believe
the governor has an eye on a 2016 run for the White House and is
afraid of the right wing of his party. There also is the influence of
the pharmaceutical industry, which is powerful in New Jersey and
might see medical marijuana as competition.

The Health Department defended the governor, saying his budget for
the next fiscal year doubles the program's funding to $1.6 million
and that five of the six nonprofit companies that have been
preliminarily approved to open marijuana dispensaries have "secured
locations." That sounds like a long way from operational. Local
governments are stumbling blocks. The sick and dying are waiting.

So much for compassion.

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Well, there is always a chance.  Certain actions,movements and intents can make it happen or make it more likely to happen in Michigan.  I wouldnt put it past our wonderful state government for even a second.  On one hand, they can say they are fixing the program and making it "Safer" and "Grandma Tested" and "Regulated" and so on and so forth, while the whole time stripping the home growing and spread out privacy of the current pt/cg system.

Edited by Malamute
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Is there any chance that this could happen in Michigan? If so, I hope we have plenty of forewarning as I will begin to stockpile a supply (hidden somewhere off my property) to last me the rest of my life. I have been told that vacuum sealing marijuana in bags will keep it fresh for many years.

yes any number of things are possible. we could all chase a ghost while they take our rights like they did with the last 4 bills.

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