Seems like the federal attack on California dispensaries have, predictably, created a chilling effect on medical marijuana reform across the nation. Last week, municipal authorities in Maple Shade, New Jersey decided not to allow Compassionate Sciences (one of the 6 companies allowed to grow medical marijuana in the state) to operate in their community. Now, more news of a medical marijuana slowdown are trickling in from the East Coast.
Besides government and law enforcement, some in the New Jersey press, namely the Star Ledger, have also been working to cast doubt over two planned marijuana providers. First by finding some (promptly severed) connections between a known scammer and the Compassionate Care Centers of America, and then by accusing the planned Foundation Harmony dispensary of citing dubious diplomas and employing a legally troubled doctor. While all these allegations certainly warrant a closer look, they should not cause the state’s entire system to go off the rails. A healthy medical marijuana program needs a robust infrastructure as has been the case in California and Colorado; tightly limited plans like New Jersey’s are not very practical.
Also, on Monday, officials in Washington DC extended the application period for the five would-be DC dispensaries by another two weeks, to November 15. Supposedly this is to “address the volume of questions… received and to allow applicants to have the time to make adjustments.” Deadlines were also pushed back for the planned 10 growing centers. Assuming there are no more delays, the newest date for awarding licenses are now March 30 for dispensaries and January 31 for the growers. Considering that the initiative authorizing medical marijuana in DC was passed way back in 1998, that proposed rules and regulations have changed four times since 2009 and that the application process involves security plans, community feedback and a $5000 application fee, these latest delays just add insult to injury. They also exemplify a pattern on slowdown that utterly dismissed the urgency of the matter for patients and hampers greater reform.
All marijuana policy is becoming increasingly interstate in nature as federal action and the moves of local authorities are analyzed and interpreted by the nationwide marijuana industry and its opponents. This is why the crackdown in California affects the entire medical marijuana movement, and why in such situations, national industry growth is of paramount concern. It is imperative that the budding medical marijuana states in the East Coast begin their programs so that the development of the next big block of marijuana-friendly states is not interrupted. The ultimate victory of marijuana reform hinges on rapid growth and a geographical advantage.
Disclaimer: These opinions and statements made in these posts are solely the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of 420 Petition and its parent company.