Legalized marijuana is on its way to New Jersey, and the New Jersey Department of Health is making sure the state is well-served by the new crop.
“The most common question I hear is, ‘What about medical marijuana?’,” Gov.
Chris Christie said at a recent press conference.
“Well, we’re going to make sure we’re providing the best possible health care, we’ve got the best medical resources available, and we’re ready to go.”
The governor also announced that the Department of Homeland Security will begin issuing permits to grow and sell marijuana to patients and businesses.
NJ Department of Healthcare officials said that they’re currently issuing the licenses to dispensaries to ensure access for patients, and will issue licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries as well.
In the next few weeks, the state will begin processing applications from medical marijuana growers and retailers to grow medical marijuana, which will allow the state to begin selling it to medical patients.
The Department of Justice, however, has not officially granted a permit yet, and Christie’s office says it’s not yet clear when the Department will do so.
“We’re very excited to have the Department issue licenses and allow us to do our job,” said Dr. William Tappen, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of New Jersey.
“There are a lot of different questions that need to be answered.”
NJ’s medical marijuana law allows patients with certain debilitating conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes.
The state is also working with other states to set up cultivation centers, which can be licensed to grow marijuana.
“It’s very exciting to see this coming to New Brunswick,” said NJ Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Thomas Sommers, who is also the director of the Department’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis.
“This is an area that is still a long way off, but we are definitely excited to be part of this revolution.”
Sommers said that while there are still many questions about how to administer medical marijuana in New Jersey and the country at large, he believes the state has “a solid foundation” that can work with other jurisdictions.
While Christie has made it clear that the state wants to ensure patients are treated fairly and with compassion, he’s also stated that he will not legalize marijuana if it’s proven that it can help alleviate chronic pain.
This article was first published by NJ.com.