Happening This Week—April 3, 2020
By Karen Berger, PharmD, Medical Writer
We have been talking about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how NJMMP patients and dispensaries are adjusting to the new, albeit temporary, normal. So, what’s going on this week in New Jersey, as COVID-19 continues to keep us all at home?
NJ.com reported that the NJ Department of Health announced that dispensaries can offer curbside service for NJMMP patients. Several dispensaries have already been offering this as an option, which eliminates the need for patients to have to go inside and potentially be exposed to COVID-19.
All of the twelve cannabis businesses (both operational and pending) signed a joint statement. In the statement, the businesses stated they were working on technology for appointment scheduling and curbside dispensing. While Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus plans to launch this service, the Compassionate Care Foundation does not plan to offer curbside service. Instead, they are trying to funnel patients to the less crowded Atlantic City branch. In the Egg Harbor Township location, patients can take a number and wait in the car until their number is called.
The dispensaries say that they have sufficient supply, and encourage patients not to overbuy cannabis, so it can continue to be able to everyone. Scott Rudder, President of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association, suggested that it would be beneficial if the state allowed for home delivery.
Also this week, Garden State Dispensary closed both locations (Woodbridge and Union) on Wednesday for disinfection and sterilization of the facilities.
Despite the statement about sufficient supply, centraljersey.com reports long lines and less availability at the dispensaries. In addition to allowing dispensaries to provide curbside service, the NJ Department of Health has reduced caregiver registration fees from $100 to $20. They also allow new patients to receive consultations over the phone instead of in person.
Anne Davis (former executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and part of the Cannabis Law Committee of the NJ Bar Association) expresses concern about patients turning to the black market. With the black market, she explains, there is no guarantee on efficacy or that the content is known and available. Also, patients do not know how the cannabis was grown, and whether it is free from pesticides, molds, and heavy metals. Not to mention, the black market violates social distancing.
Davis commented on home grow: “Gardening itself is therapeutic. To grow a therapeutic herb is to get twice the bang for your buck. To produce your own medicine, and titrate it to control your own symptoms, under medical supervision, is a wonderful advance in American health care. It minimizes the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry from the health care picture, along with their huge profits. Home cultivation is an important part of health care reform. But, sad irony, the Garden State does not permit it.” Davis recommended the Compassionate Use Act should be amended to let medical cannabis patients possess and grow up to six cannabis plants.
In light of the emergency situation, Davis recommends that growing be decriminalized, and that patients could obtain plants and seeds from the dispensaries for a small fee. A tag placed on each plant could easily identify the plant as part of a legal garden.
What are your thoughts? Have you been able to get the cannabis you need, with a reasonable wait, while maintaining social distance? Do you want to home grow?
At MyCureAll, we are here to help patients get the strains they need. Our novel Canna-Meter will assist patients in determining optimal strains, saving time and money. We are working with insurances to get medical cannabis covered, as a safe and natural alternative to opioids. Visit our Shopify store, where we offer a large selection of cannabis flowers, tinctures, and topicals.