I have authored several articles about New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program, and one thing that I have been saying since the beginning is that if you don’t give medical marijuana patients the right to grow their own cannabis, the program is doomed to fail. Unfortunately, the opponents of medical marijuana in New Jersey also know that, and they are using it to continue to drag the implementation process along.
Today the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee said that medical marijuana can only be grown and processed on ‘preserved farms,’ and growers will not receive protection under the Right to Farm Act. The Right to Farm Act The act provides farmers with variance benefits, such as legal protection from restrictive ordinances. This is a huge blow to medical marijuana access in New Jersey because that leaves only a small amount of possible grow sites for the entire state. To make matters worse, there is already strong opposition from residents near ‘preserved farms’. A meeting earlier today brought out upset residents of Upper Freehold Township who want nothing to do with medical marijuana. Apparently Upper Freehold Township leads the state in preserved land (8,600 acres).
Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center has expressed interest in at least five properties in Upper Freehold. Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center is one of six winners of the unofficial lottery that decided who would have the virtual medical marijuana monopoly in New Jersey, should the program ever get enacted. The proposed facility requests are not sitting well with the mayor of Upper Freehold. “In my mind it still comes down to the bottom line, that it is against the federal law,” Upper Freehold Township Mayor LoriSue Mount said Thursday night. “Illegal is illegal. It’s plain and clear. If we don’t follow laws then where does that leave us?” Upper Freehold has a hearing on December 15 about a proposed ordinance that would prohibit any projects.
If this is all it takes to influence the process, New Jersey is going to be like Washington D.C. and waiting year after year to see implementation. People always point to the promises that politicians in New Jersey are making about getting medical marijuana ‘next year.’ However, every step of the way there has been implementation roadblocks, and I guarantee at this pace it’s going to be ‘next year’ over and over. New Jersey citizens need to speak out, and demand that they get the right to grow marijuana themselves. If they had been given that right, medical marijuana patients in New Jersey would already have harvested multiple crops of much needed medical marijuana. Where are the pro-medical marijuana supporters in New Jersey that live by ‘preserved lands?’ Are there any out there? Because if not, the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program will be experiencing a drought that could last a long, long time.