New Jersey: a new form of struggle

I think that this article about the spreading legal war in Colorado, city-by-city, over whether to ban cannabis dispensaries demonstrates well the difference between the first generation medical marijuana laws and the second generation that is taking root here on the East Coast.

The California/Colorado model fails to provide explicitly for regulation of the supply side. The Rhode Island/New Jersey/New York model does provide for regulation of the supply side – by requiring that a prospective supplier obtain a license to do business for beginning operations. The upside is that regulation starts with the state, a sovereign superior to the localities; therefore, the localities must regulate the dispensaries around the state laws, which take precedence and guarantee the existence of dispensaries – optimally even approving specifically the location of the dispensaries. The downside of this model appears when the State fails to permit the suppliers to begin operations – such as in New Jersey where the state government (Department of Health and Senior Services – an administrative agency in the executive branch) has simply failed to enact the regulations that would allow prospective suppliers to begin applying for business licenses. Since the law restricts all manufacture and distribution to government-licensed entities – and prohibits individual patient or caregiver – this failure to permit the registration process to begin effectively prevents the creation of a legal medical marijuana market, notwithstanding the will of the legislature.



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