A New Jersey medical cannabis patient could not get a cannabis product from Eastern Green Dispensary marked for adult use when it was sold out on the medical side.
New Jersey cannabis law prioritizes medical patients over recreational adult use consumers. Several dispensaries have been fined for not doing so.
Jamie Nagee of Medford Lakes in Burlington County had issues as a patient earlier this December. He had neck surgery last October so he is using medical cannabis to treat it. His fiancé is a disabled veteran who uses cannabis gummies to sleep as well.
“I use the gummies for pain and sleeping issues,” Nagee explained.
He wanted the Wana Stay Asleep gummy edibles from the Eastern Green Dispensary in Voorhees in Camden County. Wana products are in several cannabis dispensaries across New Jersey. Wana likely has a White Labeling deal like Mike Tyson and Cookies to get their products in the New Jersey cannabis market without the epic struggle to secure a license. They are a Multi-State Operator (MSO) cannabis corporation operating in Montana and Colorado as well.
Dealing with Eastern Green Dispensary
“I went to put the order online. They didn’t have it in the medical. They had it in the recreational,” Nagee explained. “I called them. Is there any way I can get this in the medical?”
An employee put him on hold and the manager said that there was nothing he could do.
“Is there anything you can do? I’m a medical patient,” Nagee told them.
“No, we ran out of it in medical. We can give it to you if you order recreational,” He recounted them replying. “They’re like no. It’s the State. They won’t allow us to transfer products.”
“That’s kind of weird. That can’t be right,” Nagee thought to himself.
It was $36 on the recreational side and $28 on the New Jersey medical cannabis side.
So Nagee consulted New Jersey cannabis advocate and professional Wednesday Mayer. She said that it is indeed allowed. They are supposed to prioritize New Jersey medical cannabis patients.
“I had to pay the taxes and the upper price for rec because they wouldn’t do what they were supposed to do,” Nagee said.
The Eastern Green Dispensary staff did not seem to know what the New Jersey medical cannabis law says.
“What do you mean you can’t give it to me at a discount or anything?” he asked.
NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission Responds
So Nagee complained to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC). He did so by emailing them through their website’s complaint form.
“I sent them a message. They called me. They said we called Eastern Green,” Nagee recounted.
Two days after sending the message, the NJ-CRC explained to him he should have been offered the option to purchase the product with the medical patients’ benefit of no state tax. It’s a fairly simple process.
“They told me they’re not allowed to do that,” he explained.
He said the NJ-CRC explained that Eastern Green dispensary needs to retrain all their employees. They asked if Nagee wanted Eastern Green Dispensary to reach out. Nagee said there was no point.
He has not been to Eastern Green Dispensary since the incident. Instead, Nagee went to Curaleaf in Edgewater instead.
It was fine. But Eastern Green Dispensary is closer to him at a 15-minute drive versus Curaleaf which is 40 minutes away. They have had issues themselves.
Prioritizing New Jersey Medical Cannabis Patients
It might not be some scheme versus human error. Unfortunately, it has happened more than once in the New Jersey medical cannabis market frequently.
Prioritizing New Jersey medical cannabis patients is a big issue. The NJ-CRC has fined the MSOs operating in the medical market several times for not prioritizing patients.
TerrAscend, for example, has been fined multiple times, including at their last meeting in early December. They imposed a $20,000 fine 4-1, with Vice Chair Sam Delgado voting no. He wanted to impose a more moderate fine. Delgado cited NJ-CRC Executive Jeff Brown’s suggestion that they impose a $10,000 fine.