New Jersey passed a medical marijuana law but is delaying implementationEarlier this year, New Jersey became the fourteenth state to legalize medical marijuana -- a move that is attracting hundreds of would-be entrepreneurs who hope to receive one of six licenses to operate nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries that the state is expected to grant next year.

Among those hoping to be the first legal operators in the state are farmers, business owners and college students. For the licensees, the state's potential market could be huge. Pot is often called the biggest cash crop in America, with estimates of its worth ranging up to $120 billion a year, according to a report on CNBC. In California, a thriving retail market exists where about $14 billion in pot is sold annually.

But Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), warns hopeful New Jersey dispensary owners to temper their expectations. Republican Gov. Chris Christie, he says, is trying to make the regulations so restrictive that the law would be unworkable.

Who Will Sell It, How Will It be Regulated?

As has been the case in many states, the road to legal marijuana sales has been a long, strange trip. When Former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine signed the medical marijuana law in January, it was supposed to go into effect in July, with sales starting in October. But in May, Christie, who ousted Corzine, requested that enactment of the law be delayed to give the state time to work out "logistical issues." Despite protests from patient advocates, the law's implementation date was delayed by three months. Sales are not expected to begin until next year once the regulations governing them have been written.

Among the "logistical issues" that need to be sorted out is how would-be entrepreneurs go about applying for medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Thus far, no system has been put in place so prospective owners are only able to express their interest informally to NORML, and to local groups and public officials. NORML says it regularly receives emails from college students. Officials have also heard from operators of out-of-state dispensaries, farmers, warehouse owners, college students and businesses that market plant-based pharmaceuticals. Some have even secured funding from venture capitalists.

"There are serious ones and there are not so serious ones," says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton), one of the main sponsors of the medical marijuana bill.

Christie, who says he wants to avoid the problems with legal pot that other states have encountered, had his own proposal: make Rutgers University New Jersey's sole pot dispensary. While initially interested, Rutgers turned Christie down. "There is no way for Rutgers to be involved in this initiative without violating the federal Controlled Substances Act, which we will not do," according to a Rutgers press release.

Governor's Commitment Questioned

Pot sales will be tax-free, depriving the Garden State of revenue it could apply to its deep fiscal problems. But backers of the law point out that the paraphernalia people use to smoke the pot will be taxable, and growers will have to pay taxes on their employees' wages, so there will be some benefit to the state's economy.

New Jersey doctors groups back medical marijuana for use by terminally ill patients, but some doctors believe that the law allows too many conditions to be treated by pot -- such as glaucoma -- for which there is no scientific evidence of its effectiveness, according to Dr. Donald Cinotti, president of the Medical Society of New Jersey, who is an ophthalmologist.

Backers of medical marijuana say the science refutes those claims, and activists like St. Pierre question the governor's commitment to medical marijuana, saying that allowing it goes against Christie's DNA as a former U.S. attorney. A spokesperson for Christie couldn't be reached for comment. Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, says it's premature to discuss the issue since the regulations are still being written.

Even after the rules are written, legal pot sales in New Jersey won't happen for a while. Besides choosing locations (two each in the Northern, Central and Southern areas of the state), seeds must be acquired and plants need to be grown. But, at this point, who knows if those plants will even see the light of day?


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JAYSIN

People need to unite across America. Stand up for the right to give a plant it's life. Let it live we didn't create it. Let the people who want to smoke it, grow it. That will get rid of the street crime and hustling. Let people work with it. Study it, cause it has been around a lot longer than we ever have and yet history from all nations show it's been with us since time began. Those of you who can ~ try it before you decide if you are for or against it. Jaysin

September 11 2010 at 5:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
knute9

How do I really know why marijuana should be legal? The Bible tells me so (Luke 7:28-35, 2 Corinthians 11:1-33, Psalm 119:81-88, Isaiah 42:5-9, Genesis 1:11-13, Genesis 1:29-31, Ezekiel 47:12, Revelation 22:1-5). Outlawing a plant that God created is truly Satan’s trickery to turn people against God. Everything that God created has a purpose. God gave us the right of free will, even our founding fathers realized this when writing our Constitution. But slowly our government has been slowly eroding these God given rights. Will our government outlaw the burning of incense in church because of public health concerns? It's now the time to end the prohibition of marijuana.

August 03 2010 at 10:59 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Brian Workman

Just do what San Francisco, CA. does, and ingnore the law, and make your city a sanctuary city, with no drug laws, and everything goes. Problem solved, because Obama will not interfear unless you arrest illegal aliens, buying and selling drugs; then watch out for our Government to sue you!!??.

August 03 2010 at 9:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheaperbird12

cv

August 03 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheaperbird12

please do not compare alcohol with anything...so what..i like both and i like both andsome coke and some other drugs too all at the same time...do i care what you people think...??...na...i don't go around stealing,killing,driving drunk,and i work...so what's so bad about alcohol..?

August 03 2010 at 7:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
cheaperbird12

well she's probably stalling so she can organize some relatives or family memebers to be in charge...if these goons aren't in charge of thingsand robbing the tax base...they aren't happy...next we have to legalize the rest of the drugs too..like it used to be...my drug of choice is cocaine..!

August 03 2010 at 7:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
whiskyworm

It is still exploitation of the stoner. Legal is far better than criminal, yet it is insulting that the movement is not focused on dropping the price to actual cost and allowing taxes to be generated when the stoners have increased disposable income to stimulate all sectors of the economy.

August 03 2010 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick

if you would make marijuana legal to people over 21 sold in goverment controlled stores on a trial basis at $20.00 for a pack of pre rolled cigarett style portions the local drug dealers would be out of buisness in a week , alot of people in jail could get early release for that are in for possession for the 2nd and 3rd time of marijuana that are doing 10 years , murder , violence in that part of the drug industry would vanish people selling a pack of 20 marijuana cigaretts for $80.00 a pack that hurt and kill would be gone from selling weed and forced you could controll the potency so the one hit wonder weed would not be viable for sale or want majority of marijuana users like a mellow laid back effect not a rock your socks feeling , lets get smart and just try it and police it like we do alcohol , local buisness could regulate there own in house regulations of who they hire uses it , it is there right to test and disqualify people who test positive when on the job , any way lets end the madness of psycotic criminal gangs controlling it like they did back in prohibition , there are going to be addicts as long as there are human beings on earth , a addict will induldge in anything he or she can to satisfy them selves which includes alcohol , chocolate , soda pop , cigaretts , ect ect , so lets try it for a while and see what happens we have allready lost to the criminal underworld its out of hand just like alcohol and gambling was back when we werent as smart , now we have somewhat of controll over those vises the al capones and lucky luciano disappeared from the alcohol sceen lets do it again .

August 03 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to rick's comment
socialeconomist

John Gotti proves your statement incorrect...

August 03 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
haber

Very good. The problem is, it is good!

August 03 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
caverwayne

Republican Gov. Chris Christie, he says, is trying to make the regulations so restrictive that the law would be unworkable.

Dude! Smoke one then sit back and relax just like the rest of us hard working Americans try to do after a hard days work. Dont worry if you get the munchies our state and local taxes that we pay YOU from our hard work will take care of that for you.You and the other down beaters can DRINK all you like at those party's that is why alcohol is legal. Catch us in THE WAR ON DRUGS and put us in jail and guess what? No paycheck to you from our pockets. THE WAR ON DRUGS should be only about all the other HARD DRUGS and NOT a PLANT. Did your mother ever try to get you to eat your carrots? She would say How can you say you dont like them unless you try them.Yes Gov.Christie you know I am right about this.spppppt.listen.I know you have that job and all and your trying to make a name for yourself but make the people happy and your name will be Golden,Make us VERY happy and your name will live on for ever and ever. Now after reading this would you say I am some drugged out dirt bag?? I am a normal citizen you would be surprised If you met me PAL!

August 03 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to caverwayne's comment
socialeconomist

I wonder if Shorty Guzman wants to employ me since there is no American think tank that will...I have written on the subject of finanial literacy years ago... I have written on civil projects that employ the lowest worker to stimulate the economy. If Shorty can pay a Million dollars to put a bounty on a stupid county Sheriff, then knowing how to destroy his enemies has to be worth at least $10 million EUROS.... I wonder if Dad's old friends down San Antonio way still hang out at the same old bar on Florez Street.. I will only speak to the ones I know anyway, save the broadway play.... The world will pay Alex Rodriguez $25 million annually to hit a baseball and someone like me who can build and destroy nations is forced to live a normal life as a B film star on minimum age.... My patience grows thin... King George is going down..

August 03 2010 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply