The garden state selected former state policeman John H. O’Brien Jr., who has a background in gun-control policy, to run its medical marijuana program. The appointment, made by Governor Christie, is another step toward New Jersey’s ongoing battle to get six growers and their “Alternative Treatment Centers” up and running as soon as possible.
New Jersey’s march towards legalization has been moving at a snail’s pace for nearly two years now, when former Governor Jon Corzine signed off on it. The laws and regulations proposed for New Jersey are widely regarded as vague and strict, as no one really knows exactly what the program will resemble.
The state had aimed to have these six centers up and running by the end of this year, but the program won’t come to fruition until sometime next year. Governor Christie has been criticized for having too strict of an approach along with slowing down New Jersey’s path to legalization, so hiring a former policeman will not exactly ingratiate him with patients and growers of cannabis seeds.
O’Brien’s main task will be performing background checks and regulating the state’s new system. The obvious complaint is that an enforcer of the law, and not a doctor, will be in charge of deciding who can and who cannot serve MMJ in New Jersey. O’Brien is said to be a supporter of the overall goal of New Jersey’s pending program.
Hopefully, O’Brien’s hire does not prolong New Jersey’s already lengthy battle to legalize MMJ so patients in need can get their necessary treatment through legal means. And who knows, maybe these growers can help solve the problem that is the Garden State Parkway’s stench.