Regulated local cannabis market would mean safer products

Dear Editor:

This personal opinion, which is not intended to reflect the view of my employer, is in response to recent concern about the safety of having a Cannabis dispensary in town. As a family physician, it is my job to provide medical advice to my patients using the best clinical evidence available whenever possible. It has been more difficult to provide such advice for Cannabis than either tobacco or alcohol. There are fewer clinical studies available to guide my advice on drug-drug interactions, disease-drug interactions and the long-term impacts on physical and mental health from Cannabis use. For nearly every other substance my adult patients are using recreationally or medicinally I have information on pharmokinetics, adverse effects, beneficial effects, which organs break down and secrete the drug and how that may impact the same process for other substances (prescription, over the counter, illicit or legal) being used by a patient. Fortunately federal laws preventing quality clinical research on Cannabis have been partially lifted in the last few years. This should be good news for those of us in clinical medicine struggling to stay informed enough to know when to advise against use or simply caution moderation in the use of Cannabis products. My patients (who when asked about substance use answer me much more candidly now that the fear of criminal penalties have been lifted by legalization) have shown me that a sizeable portion of my practice has been and currently are using Cannabis regardless of the concerns noted by medical organizations. The rising trend across the State of blocking Cannabis dispensaries does nothing to stem the steady tide of Cannabis use in our towns but it does make it difficult for doctors to provide evidence-based guidance. Not having a regulated market makes the question of the provenance and safety of the Cannabis products people are using unknown, which could be problematic to people’s health and well-being. For example, someone might not know if the product they are using is real or is contaminated with toxins, nor might they know the chemical composition of that product, which greatly effects the complex plant chemistry and interaction with medications and preexisting conditions. Without secured, contaminant tested, component (CBD/G, THC, Terpenes) tested products, I am not able to give the most effective medical advice possible to my patients who have chosen to use Cannabis. The amount of Cannabis in Princeton may not change significantly if a dispensary were to open, but the benefits to those who have made the choice to use Cannabis of having a safe, regulated, accurately labeled product cannot be understated. Banning dispensaries does not roll back legalization or personal choice, it only hurts those adults who have legally made the choice to use Cannabis and wish to do so in as safe a fashion as possible.

Kimberly Levitt, M.D.

Dr. Levitt is a member of the Princeton Cannabis Task Force.


  1. Next the community Dr. Levitt serves, or rather Dr. Levitt, will request more tax dollars to combat the fallout from cannabis addiction and mental health issues because cannabis can cause: psychotic episodes! Unbelievable. We are already footing the bill for free care at your Capital Health facility in the former Princeton Packet building. Preventing synthetic highly addictive THC from being in the community is a better approach than allowing Big Pot to get your vulnerable patients dependent daily on cannabis vapes, shatter, dabs and oils. Does Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) member Dr. Levitt also have the ability to provide marijuana cards like CTF member Dr. David Nathan? Stop pushing this drug into our town when it is readily available on Route 1 and for delivery. Council needs to stop being led around by the nose by businesses and lobbyists who have infiltrated your government and your biased task forces. Why? GREED. Residents pay attention before the town you love rapidly declines into a Princetoner haven reeking of the stench of pot as people use it on the streets.

  2. Dr.Levitt
    Did you examine the peer reviewed clinical research conducted throughout the world? I believe that you shall find some valuable information to guide you.

    Also, after permanent rules for required testing for both medical and adult use cannabis are adopted by the NJ CRC utilizing input from UNKNOWN subject matter experts from a non-existent (that I know of) advisory rules committee in testing (common practice in other states), are you confident that the adopted rules will be based on scientific principles and enforced by the CRC?

    Since the NJ Medical Cannabis Program began TEN years ago, countless batches of cannabis have been grown by the various Alternative Treatment Centers. Our state’s regulations indicate that each batch should be tested. Since the NJ Dept.of Health Public Health and Environmental Laboratories had the only Cannabis Testing Unit, where are the Certificate of Analyses for all to examine???

  3. This letter would be more meaningful if Dr. Levitt were to disclose whether or not she has served as a consultant for the cannabis industry.

    You don’t need retail recreational marijuana stores to assure access to regulated weed; customers will order the very same product legally and have it conveniently delivered just like they do with just about everything else we buy. Why bother going to the store when legal delivery has already been assured by the state regulatory commission? Right, there’s actually no good reason for recreational cannabis stores in town when a thriving delivery infrastructure already exists for everything from groceries to clothing.

    And positing objections to brick and mortar cannabis retail in Princeton as a desire to roll back legalization shows you don’t understand the objections.

    The vote to end prohibition was the right thing to do for a long list of reasons. However, clearing the way for and incentivizing the growth of the corporate weed industry was not one of them. Besides, it only takes a quick look at the state cannabis regulatory commission to see that it’s made up of legal, PR, and policy folks. That’s the expertise assembled for a business venture, not for a monitoring of a product’s safety for the health and wellbeing of consumers. So don’t count on any independent assessment or testing from them on the state level.

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