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NORML Alert: Tell Lawmakers To Make New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Law Workable For Patients

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 17, 2010

    For many months now NORML has publicly criticized political efforts to quash New Jersey’s nascent medical marijuana program — which, nearly one year after having been signed into law, has yet to authorize even a single patient to legally use cannabis.

    Most recently, New Jersey Department of Health officials released draft regulations seeking to limit the manufacturing of medical cannabis to two licensed state facilities. The proposed rules also restrict the percentage of THC that may be present in the plant to no more than ten percent, and limit the varieties of cannabis that may be produced to no more than three strains. They further demand that doctors who authorize their patients to use marijuana must “make reasonable efforts” at least every three months to wean them off the drug.

    Under the yet-to-be formalized law, patients would be authorized to possess no more than two ounces of cannabis per month, and would not be permitted to grow their own marijuana or share it with other registered patients. Patients who possess unauthorized amounts or strains of marijuana will still be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution under state law.

    NORML believes, as does the sponsor of the original law, that these proposed regulations are unduly restrictive and, in fact, violate the intent of the Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act. That is why we are asking New Jersey residents to write their state lawmakers and ask them to approve a pair of concurrent resolutions to compel Health officials to revise the proposed regulations.

    On Monday, November 8, members of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee and members of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming voted in favor of the resolutions, which may be acted on by the floors of both chambers as soon as November 22. If you live in the Garden State, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center, and tell your member of the Assembly and Senate to affirm these votes by going here.

    Also check out today’s op/ed in the New Jersey Star Ledger, “Snuffing out medical marijuana,” by NORML New Jersey’s own Chris Goldstein for the latest.

    Snuffing out medical marijuana
    via NJ.com

    [excerpt] Gov. Chris Christie is engaging in an ugly game of politics when it comes to implementing the medical marijuana law. … Qualifying New Jersey residents will remain in the crossfire between Christie and a law he openly opposes unless the Legislature acts decisively.

    … The nonprofit medical marijuana advocacy groups in New Jersey, the sponsor legislators and now Senate and Assembly committees agree that the DHSS limitations are far outside the intent of the law.

    The term “medical marijuana” means more than just the plant; it means an entire system of compassionate care. Hundreds of thousands of Americans find relief today in 13 states [Author’s note: now fifteen] with working programs.

    Under the guise of avoiding problems in other states, the governor and DHSS would have inexperienced health groups try their hand at cannabis here. The result will cut out expert small businesses and keep patients underground.

    The governor and DHSS officials could still create a program more in tune with real world patient needs rather than a flood of desk-drawer rules.

    Patients and advocates remain willing to work with the administration.

    Otherwise, New Jersey may get a Soviet-style medical cannabis program that is missing the compassion and choices that the law was meant to provide or worse: nothing at all.

    27 responses to “NORML Alert: Tell Lawmakers To Make New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Law Workable For Patients”

    1. pity says:

      and the critics say prop 19 was poorly drafted. sorry jersey.

    2. Igor says:

      Time for Chris the Antichristi to be voted out of office along with his corrupt cronies!

      Memo to Antichristi: the United States is not a monarchy where you sit as king lording it over the people.

    3. cjd says:

      How do you ween someone off something that isn’t addicting? Sounds like the New Jersey politicians need to be weened off their “Reefer Madness” addiction what a bunch of knotheads.

    4. Bradson says:

      It’s interesting how irrational fear of this plant overrides fact when the laws are drawn up. Maybe future efforts at legalization could include a simple statement of fact about marijuana’s lack of toxicity and it’s impressive safety profile compared to legal substances.

      Let our already accepted controls for the more harmful substances be the model for marijuana regulation. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or have even more severe restrictions for the safer substance.

    5. william says:

      Doctors all over the country should be focusing on weaning patients off of pills, not marijuana. To the “drug” that people actually get addicted too. This is all ridiculous, and I can’t wait for everyone who doesn’t believe that marijuana should be legal, to one day see how leagalizing it one, doesnt effect them in a negative way, and two, see how much of a positive impact the production and selling of MJ has. WE CAN GET THIS COUNTRY OUT OF DEBT. ( EASILY )

    6. moldy says:

      I’m sorry for the patients in that state that are waiting for the “criminal” sign to be taken off their backs. It’s hard enough coping with serious illnesses without having to hide like fucking rats.

      Christie is the criminal here.

    7. Theo says:

      As a potential MM patient, I find this all disturbing. I plan to visit my son in California early next year and stay for a few months to see if MM can replace my Oxycotin and the other 3 pain killers I get from my local pharmacy.
      It makes me angry when I read how our politicians and fellow citizens want to regulate MM farmers and sellers. I often wondered if a new supermarket wanted to open up, would the community be upset that tobacco and alcohol would be sold within one mile of a school. Would a new Pharmacy generate the same outrage that a new MM club does? Why do our newspapers describe a non-toxic plant as a drug? Why call farmers drug manufacturers? Why live in the United States?

    8. Joe "Ironman" Siler says:

      Zero I thought we were governing ourselves? By the people, of the people, for the people. Isn’t that the way it goes? I know, just being funny, and failing miserably. Bradson it is not Irrational Fear, it’s GREED that keeps cannabis illegal. The grass roots MMJ people in Cal. worked very hard to kill the legalization of cannabis for everyone over 21yrs. it was greeeeeeeeed that made them do it. I find it pathetic that they want to wean people off of a drug that has NEVER killed anybody by overdose in 5,000yrs of recorded history, and is NOT physicaly addictive, but the official most lethal drug in the country,that IS physicaly addictive, alcohol, they do nothing. OH, I’m sorry, MONEY,MONEY,MONEY, MONNNNEY, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF MY STASH.. $209,900,000,000.oo a year in cancer treatment money. I don’t know how much money alcohol makes a year it appears to be 115.9 BILLION. How many dollars cannabis sales generate in the US is a rather hard figure to nail down. DUH it’s illegal. The best estimate I found was $11 BILLION. It’s all money now, nobody cares if cannabis can get you high, it’s all done for the MONEY.

    9. Nic says:

      In the meantime…

      http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/11/16/reclaiming-commerce/

      “..With the passage of a bill like HB1438, Virginia would become the first state to reject in one fell swoop the ludicrous and intellectually dishonest constitutional rationale that underpins so much federal activity, and reclaim the rightful authority to regulate commerce within its own borders.”

      Keep a close eye on this one

    10. Peter says:

      It’s the fault of New Jerseyians for electing this Governor . Look , out here in Cali. if your opposed to medical marijuana your chances are slim to none you’ll be elected . Whitman , Cooley and a local blubber bellied politician named Ron Kuhnel who was limiting the amount of dispensaries in Humboldt County all got defeated .
      Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times stated , Harris a supporter of medical marijuana is widening her lead against Cooley in her race for California Attorney General making a very realistic
      comeback against the drunken Cooley .It’s now appearing increasingly difficult for her rival . L.A. County District Attorney , Steve blubber lips Cooley to win . As of Tuesday Evening she led by 31,000 votes .
      The fact is that about 350,000 of the remaining ballots are in counties Harris already carried on election day .

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