Director Of New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Resigns

NEW JERSEY:  The director of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program — who was hired with fanfare 3-1/2 years ago to manage what was widely criticized as slow and disorganized effort — has quietly resigned, the state Health Department confirmed Thursday.

A retired lieutenant and 26-year-veteran of the State Police, John O’Brien left April 4, health department spokeswoman Donna Leusner confirmed. “He and his family are relocating,” Leusner said in an email.

O’Brien’s second-in-command, James Baracia, also a State Police veteran, is the new acting director, she said. Baracia, an employee for 2-1/2 years, developed the program’s inspection and monitoring requirements and was in charge of monitoring the three dispensaries, according to Leusner’s email.