Competition Among New Jersey Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Causing Prices To Fall

BELLMAWR, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)– New medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey are causing prices to fall as they compete with other dispensaries in the state.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says the state Health Department released a report last month saying the average price in 2015 was $489 an ounce. Advocates said that was among the highest in the nation.

But two dispensaries launched last fall have offered discounts and specials knocking that price down to the $300 range, as well as innovative products.

New Jersey has five dispensaries, but the amount of patients has fallen below expectations. Dispensary operators and patients say that’s due to strict state regulations that have made the program too expensive.

Health officials have defended the rules, saying they want patients to get a safe product.

Gov. Chris Christie has long opposed the use of medical marijuana, and right now in the state a doctor must prove a patient has a “debilitating medical condition” with “chronic pain” such as multiple sclerosis, cancer or terminal illness.

One assemblyman in the state recently proposed legislation to expand medical marijuana to other groups.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace, D-Paramus, wants to add menstrual cramps to the list of ailments approved for medical marijuana.

“Rather than giving opiods or painkillers, which is the usual treatment, this would be a less harmful, less addictive drug,” Eustace said.

Eustace is working on getting the bill posted to a committee agenda and is looking for a Senate sponsor. He hopes to have a hearing before the Assembly breaks this June.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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