Chris Beres was born with a genetic mutation called KiF1A causing a form of paraplegia.
“I have a lot of pain in my extremities. Tingling, itching, burning, throbbing,” Beres said.
The 29-year-old says there were times where he couldn’t get out of bed for weeks, but relief came when he started taking medical marijuana.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit New Jersey there were added concerns for the more than 78,000 medical marijuana patients who are already immune compromised.
A video Beres took in March showed a line of cars as he waited for hours to get in a dispensary.
Scott Rudder, president of New Jersey Cannabusiness Association, says a new waiver signed by the state Department of Health allowing the 11 permitted dispensaries to start home delivery is a game changer.
“Through the coronavirus, when we had a lot of restrictions, there were long lines and everything else so the state of New Jersey put forward their rules and regulations to allow for the current ATCs [alternative treatment centers] to provide a plan for home delivery,” Rudder said.
Harmony Dispensary in Secaucus is ready to go.
“Each vehicle will have to be equipped with a GPS tracking system and all the security measures, so we’ll have a combination of security as well as dispensary employees conducting deliveries to make sure it’s done safely and the medicine reaches the patient,” said the dispensary’s CEO Shaya Brodchandel.
“It’ll be in a safe unmarked vehicle, the people who will be delivering will have a background checks. I don’t see that being a big issue whatsoever. We don’t see crime at local dispensaries. We’re not going to see crime associated with home delivery. It’s just not an issue you see in any other state,” Rudder said.
Beres says it’s critical because accessibility has always been a struggle for patients like him.
“Getting up on a certain time and getting there hopefully before they stop serving people, having to have my grandmother drive me and spend her gas money, it would just make me feel a lot better, as well, to not have to impose upon others for transportation,” Beres said.
“If you’ve ever been to a dispensary, the folks there are people who have significant issues. They’re in wheelchairs, they’re in walkers, they have seizure disorders, like I said. Some of these patients are children,” Rudder said.
Home delivery is a major victory, Beres says, that’s long overdue.