New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora wants the state to answer a question that’s been on the minds of MMJ advocates for quite some time: What’s taking so long?
Gusciora has called for hearings that will force state officials to explain why there have been so many delays tied to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. Dispensaries were supposed to be up and running by this time last year. But not one has opened yet, and it could be at least another month or two – or possibly longer – until one does.
It’s a noble effort, though it comes too late in the process. This question should have been asked late last year when it became evident the state was dragging its feet. It’s unclear if the hearings will actually materialize at this point, especially if dispensaries finally start to open.
Still, it could have some indirect effects. The fact that a lawmaker has requested hearings on the issue might spook the state into ensuring that it sticks to its latest deadline. If there are additional delays, state officials will surely have to justify them in front of a critical audience.
Other regions that have legalized medical marijuana in recent years – such as Arizona, Rhode Island and Washington DC – have encountered similar delays. In some cases, state officials moved forward cautiously to avoid problems encountered in areas like California. In other cases, like Arizona, officials have tried to derail MMJ efforts entirely.