Fox29 in Philadelphia declared:
The Garden State’s first medical marijuana growing center is on its way to Chesterfield Township, Burlington County. Read full
But the local Burlington County Times found out that the plans were not so firm:
Representatives from a West Trenton-based alternative treatment center have informed officials that they’re scouting locations in the township for a growing facility, but have not named a specific location nor submitted a site plan application to the Planning Board.
Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. canceled plans to appear before the Township Committee several weeks ago and has not communicated since, said Mayor Larry Durr, acknowledging the many unanswered questions about the plan. Read full
Chesterfield is a rural, farming community near McGuire Air Force Base.
Gov. Christie’s administration removed plans for home delivery of medical marijuana. Unless that restriction is lifted, patients or a designated caregiver must go to an ATC to pick up medicine.
This isn’t the first time that Compassionate Care Foundation has run into location issues. In March the company had announced plans to build in Bellmawr, NJ. That was apparently shocking news the mayor and local officials, who eventually turned away the ATC.
Having a relationship with the local community was supposed to be an important part of the scoring process for the NJ ATC applicants.
A prominent member of Compassionate Care Foundation’s Board of Trustees, David Knowlton, was an acting Commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services. NJ DHSS is the oversight entity for the medical marijuana program. Knowlton was also a member of Chris Christie’s gubernatorial transition team.
In fact, three of the six ATCs have very close ties back to Governor Christie, who has stated many times that he does not like the safe access law.
Gov. Christie suspended the operations at all of the ATCs for several months. Then, at a widely covered press conference on July 19th, Christie promised that state-regulated cannabis would be available to patients by December 2011.
In order to reach that goal the ATCs would need to start growing in the next eight weeks. As of this writing, none of the six ATCs have confirmed a physical location.
One ATC, Greenleaf Compassion Center, has plans to build in Montclair, NJ. On the surface they seem to have the most local support. Former mayor Jerry Fried, Montclair State University and some sitting city council members have all backed the concept. Still, an actual location for Greenleaf has not been announced.
The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in January 2010. Since that time the underground cannabis market and secretive, personal cultivation remain the only points of access for NJ residents with qualifying medical conditions.
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Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org