Will New Jersey’s Weed Market Squeeze Out Patients Who Need It Most?
As New Jersey moves closer to a functioning adult marijuana market, medicinal weed advocates wonder if the transition will begin to crowd out patients who need cannabis for serious medical conditions.
But those on the supply side say that shouldn’t be a problem – some vendors will need to certify that they have enough product to supply both markets, and there could be more rules in the future dictating some amount of product that should be set aside for those who need it most.
David Knowlton, president and CEO of the Cannabis Education & Research Institute, said there is an economic interest in being in the recreational market, and that there aren’t many “pushes” there. , for what is provided here must be cultivated here. And, he said, the strain of marijuana preferred by a recreational user may not be the strain that, for example, a cancer patient needs.
“Do we have enough product in New Jersey to get people going recreationally? We don’t think they do,” Knowlton said.
Medical marijuana dispensaries that choose to shift some of their operations to recreational sales will be required by the state to declare that they have enough product on hand to satisfy medicinal customers. Knowlton thinks it would be “impossible to enforce”.
New Jersey began accepting applications from recreational cannabis growers, manufacturers and testing labs in December. In March, the application process will begin for those who want a retail license.
Curaleaf plans to convert its three New Jersey medical marijuana dispensaries into operations that serve both medical and adult clients. Patrik Jonsson, Northeast Regional President for Curaleaf, said there is currently a “vast surplus” of marijuana in the New Jersey market.
“I think Curaleaf on its own would be able to supply the entire New Jersey medical market without any other operator,” Jonsson said. “We can, without a doubt, continue to safely deliver products to medical patients with zero impact.”
Advocates have asked the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to release information on the amount of cultivation available in New Jersey, so they can get a better picture of the garden’s statewide supply. CRC did not respond to requests for comment from New Jersey 101.5.
“There is no way, if done the right way, that the medical program will ever run out of product – as long as the state puts in place safeguards so that we can operate,” Jonsson said.
An example of a “guardrail,” he said, would be the requirement for operators to reserve a certain amount of product for medical users, based on past sales.
“Our priority remains medical patients. We will continue to serve patients as long as there are patients,” Jonsson said.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]
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