New Jersey’s medical marijuana law was put into place three years ago, but so far only one dispensary has opened its doors. Additionally, only 190 doctors have been approved to recommend the drug to patients. Finding this unacceptable, Richard Caporusso and Caroline Glock (who is now deceased) filed a lawsuit last year to speed up the process.
The suit was filed last April and amended in October. It names the Health Department, Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd, and program Director John H O’Brien Jr. In the suit, Caporusso and Glock accuse the Health Department of “intentional sabotage” of the program. The suite also alleged “egregious, arbitrary, and capricious conduct” in getting the program off the ground.
Arguments are now scheduled for a hearing on an injunction and proposed court orders to eliminate New Jersey’s “unconstitutional” medical marijuana regulations and to speed up the process of opening more dispensaries throughout the state.
In the petition, attorneys William H. Buckman and Anne E. Davis also asked the court to make it easier for doctors to register to recommend medical marijuana to patients and also asked to lift regulations that limit the THC content of marijuana sold in collectives. Currently medical marijuana in New Jersey cannot be above 10% THC, a number which advocates are saying is not founded in science and makes the medicine far less effective for patients.
Buckman and Davis will also ask the judge to appoint Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey to monitor the program to make sure that patients’ rights are being protected and that the program continually moves forward.
Medical marijuana prices are high in New Jersey. With only one collective open, patients are having to add the cost of gas for long car rides to the cost of their medicine, something which many just cannot afford.
Caporusso stated, “There’s absolutely no reason someone should be driving two and a half hours one way and two and a half hours home to pay $1,000 for two ounces of marijuana. It’s a hardship.”
When Governor Chris Christie inherited the medical marijuana program from his predecessor, Jon S. Corzine, he said he would never have signed it into law. Christie had the regulations tightened, saying he wanted to prevent the drug from getting into the wrong hands. Under Christie’s watch, the program has basically stalled out.
Through the lawsuit, Caporusso is hoping to get the program back on track for other New Jersey patients. Caroline Glock passed away before she ever had the opportunity to smoke medical marijuana obtained from a dispensary. Hopefully this lawsuit will help other patients receive the medicine they need before it’s too late.