Weekly Wrapup: More Delays for East Coast MMJ Programs as Dispensaries Struggle to Open

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A growing number of East Coast states have medical marijuana laws on the books that allow dispensaries in some form.

But good luck finding an actual medical marijuana center in most of these areas.

MMJ dispensary programs on the East Coast have been fraught with delays, challenges and setbacks that have created a confusing situation for medical cannabis professionals and put the opening of dispensaries on ice.

Last week, we highlighted the problems plaguing medical cannabis programs in two areas: Washington DC and New Jersey.

The situation is particularly unclear in the nation’s capital, where progress has slowed to a crawl. Those hoping to open dispensaries in DC are now stuck in limbo and have received little direction from the health department, which is overseeing the program

In New Jersey, the first dispensary planned to open by the end of last month. But it is still struggling to get a certificate of occupancy from city officials, adding to a long list of challenges.

It’s of vital importance that dispensaries open as soon as possible in these areas and other MMJ states moving in the same direction, such as Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut. The longer this plays out, the greater likelihood these programs will face additional challenges. And until dispensaries actually open in each of these states, there’s always the possibility that local officials will find some way to block them from ever doing so.

The delays seen on the East Coast – and even out west in states like Arizona – highlight how important it is be flexible and patient when trying to enter the medical cannabis business. This industry is like no other out there, and you can’t expect things to operate smoothly or predictably.

Also last week, we wrote about the status of several medical marijuana and general cannabis initiatives in front of voters this fall at the state level. According to the latest polls tracking voter sentiment, most of these measures are faring pretty well and have a strong shot at becoming law. It looks like Massachusetts will legalize medical marijuana, while Washington and Colorado could become the first two states in the nation to pass legislation allowing adults to use marijuana for recreational purposes. At this point, marijuana-related issues could become the big story of the elections this year.

Other top stories in MMJ Business Daily last week:

Gary Johnson to Back Florida Medical Cannabis Efforts

Montana MMJ Industry Hopeful Despite Poll

Feds Crack Down on Los Angeles Dispensaries