New Jersey’s first Alternative Treatment Center is scheduled to open today in Montclair. Greenleaf Compassion Center will see patients by appointment only, beginning at 10:00 a.m. At the moment, the center has scheduled about 20 patients in the order of their initial registration for the program. To date, several hundred state residents are successfully registered. Patients are limited to no more than two ounces of medical grade marijuana a month, though doctors may recommend less. Initially, Greenleaf will dispense no more than half an ounce per person, in order to stretch its available supply to every patient.
Don and Gerry McGrath lost their youngest son, Sean, to a rare form of cancer in 2004. Sean’s doctors recommended medical marijuana, which proved highly effective in treating his debilitating pain and nausea. “Words can’t express what it was like to watch my son waste away before my eyes, and then on top of that pain, have to deal with feeling like criminals just because Sean used medical marijuana which helped relieve some of his suffering,” said McGrath. “I’m so grateful that medical marijuana is finally a reality in our state and that there is now less of a chance that other families will have to endure what my own suffered through.”
Lisa Segal suffers from multiple sclerosis and is a registered medical marijuana patient with the state of New Jersey. “Medical marijuana gives me pain relief that no conventional medicine has thus far. I am ecstatic that Greenleaf is finally open and that I can finally legally access the medicine that helps me the most.”
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“This is exceedingly momentous,” said Meagan Glaser, New Jersey policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. “We are incredibly excited about the opening and absolutely thrilled that seriously ill patients are finally getting safe and legal access to the medication that works best for them.”
The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act became law in January of 2010. The legislation allows patients suffering from certain debilitating and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The bill also allows for the licensing of centers where qualifying patients can safely access medical marijuana. Six centers have received licenses but Greenleaf Compassion Center will be the first to open its doors.