Will the NJ weed market crowd out patients who need it most?
As New Jersey moves closer to a functioning adult marijuana market, herbal 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 suppliers will have to certify that they have enough product to supply both markets, and there may be more rules in the future dictating a certain amount of product that needs to be set aside for those who need it most.
David Knowlton, President and CEO of Cannabis Education and Research Institute, said that there is an economic interest in being in the recreational market, and that there is not much “culture” there, since what is provided here must be grown here. And, he said, the strain of marijuana preferred by a recreational user may not be the strain needed by, say, a cancer patient.
“Do we have enough product in New Jersey to allow people to open recreation? We don’t think they do,” Knowlton said.
Medical marijuana dispensaries that choose to redirect a portion of their operations to recreational sales will be required by the state to declare that they have enough product on hand to satisfy medical 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 wishing to obtain a retail license.
curafeuille 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 would be able to supply the entire New Jersey medical market on its own without any other operators,” Jonsson said. “We can, without a doubt, continue to safely deliver products to medical patients without impact.”
Advocates have asked the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to release information on how much culture is available in New Jersey, so they can get a better picture of what’s on offer throughout the Garden State. The CRC did not respond to New Jersey 101.5‘s requests for comment.
“There’s no way, if done the right way, that the medical program will run out of product – as long as the state puts safeguards in place so we can operate,” said Jonsson.
An example of a “guardrail,” he said, would be a 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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