State's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opened In December

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Jersey Senate panel has approved a measure that would make it easier for children to have access to medical marijuana.

The Senate Judiciary committee on Thursday approved the bill that would eliminate requiring written confirmation from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist in order for juveniles to get medical marijuana.

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The bill also calls for medical marijuana to be produced in edible form and allows more strains to be made available.

The father of a 2-year-old girl who has a severe form of epilepsy testified about being unable to obtain certification from a psychiatrist for his child to participate.

LINK: Read The Bill (pdf)

The director of the American Academy of Pediatrics in New Jersey says that eliminating approval from a pediatrician is dangerous because only they can assess how medicine affects children.

New Jersey’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in December, though New Jersey became one of 16 states and the District of Columbia to legalize medical marijuana when the state statute was approved in 2010.

Meantime, a second medical marijuana dispensary in the state is a step closer to opening its doors.

The Compassionate Care Foundation, based in Egg Harbor, has been issued a grow permit by the state health department.

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However, there are still more benchmarks the foundation will need to meet before being licensed to dispense.

“We have to grow medicinal marijuana, it has to be inspected by the Department of Health, it has to meet the quality requirements of the department,” foundation chairman David Knowlton told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

With the OK to start growing, he said they’re now planning for an opening in early September.

“Well, I know there’s quite a bit of pent-up demand,” said Knowlton.

In the three and a half years since the law was signed, only one dispensary located in Montclair has made it through the permitting process to open.

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