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New Jersey: NORML Lawyers File Constitutional Lawsuit Over State’s Failure To Implement Two-Year-Old Medical Cannabis Law

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 5, 2012

    Members of the NORML Legal Committee filed suit yesterday against the State of New Jersey over regulators failure to implement the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act.

    First signed into law by former Gov. Jon Corzine on January 18, 2010, the law — which establishes the creation of up to six state-licensed ‘alternative treatment centers’ to provide medicinal cannabis to qualified patients — was initially scheduled to take effect in July 2010. Since that time state regulators, at the behest of present Gov. Chris Christie, have unduly delayed the law’s implementation. To date, not a single patient in New Jersey has been afforded legal protections under the Act in the 27 months since the measure was signed into law.

    On Wednesday, April 4, NORML Legal Committee attorneys William H. Buckman of Moorestown and Anne M. Davis of Brick filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New Jersey medical patient who would qualify for cannabis access. The suit also represents one of the few medical doctors who have registered with NJ to recommend medical marijuana. Named in the suit are the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and the newly appointed director of the Medicinal Marijuana Program John O’Brien.

    Read the press release below:

    CONSTITUTIONAL LAWSUIT FILED OVER FAILED NJ MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM

    Trenton: Today a lawsuit was filed against the State of New Jersey over the failure to implement the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Named in the suit are the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and the newly appointed director of the Medicinal Marijuana Program John O’Brien.

    Civil rights attorneys William H. Buckman of Moorestown and Anne M. Davis of Brick brought the suit on behalf of a New Jersey medical patient who would qualify for cannabis access. The suit also represents one of the few medical doctors who have registered with NJ to recommend medical marijuana.

    The compassionate use law was passed in January 2010 with a six-month implementation timeline. But since 2010 a series of politically motivated regulatory, legislative and bureaucratic delays have kept the program from operating at all. None of the six approved Alternative Treatment Centers have been fully permitted by DHSS to open.

    “We represent a patient who suffered actual damages as a result of these delays,” said Anne Davis, “He cannot utilize the cannabis because New Jersey’s lack of a working program means he could lose his disability pension if he tested positive for cannabis.”

    Davis continued, “Our neighbors with AIDS, cancer, MS and the worst of medical conditions have testified before the legislature and changed the law. Now, patients and doctors have to go to court to win the rights that they should have already been afforded.”

    The lawsuit gathers more than two years of facts demonstrating that those in charge of the implementation process for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program have been unable or unwilling to put the law into place.

    “Today we are filing suit to require the DHHS to do what every other citizen must do — follow the law,” said William Buckman, “We are also insisting that pursuant to the legislature’s will, sick people have access to medical marijuana without fear of arrest.”

    47 Responses to “New Jersey: NORML Lawyers File Constitutional Lawsuit Over State’s Failure To Implement Two-Year-Old Medical Cannabis Law”

    1. Chris in WI says:

      This is just such a no-brainer issue. Why can’t we get a president or AG that knows the truth and has such strength of character to just F’in DEschedule cannabis?

      Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    2. Billy Warren says:

      I hope Gov. Cristie gets cancer, and when every med fails him and his last resort is cannabis, that he will see how evil his actions on medical cannabis were. and right before that first toke of relief, he dies from his illness. All so he can feel what N.J. medical cannabis users have been feeling for the last two years.

    3. [...] New Jersey: NORML Lawyers File Constitutional Lawsuit Over State’s Failure To Implement Two-Year-O… Members of the NORML Legal Committee filed suit yesterday against the State of New Jersey over regulators failure to implement the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act. First signed into law by former Gov. Jon Corzine on January 18, 2010, the law — which establishes the creation of up to six state-licensed ‘alternative treatment centers’ to provide medicinal cannabis to qualified patients — was initially scheduled to take effect in July 2010. Since that time state regulators, at the behest of present Gov. Chris Christie, have unduly delayed the law’s [...] [...]

    4. The Oracle says:

      With lawsuits brought against state officials like this in MMJ states with on-hold programs, it ought to get rather expensively uncomfortable to make them get the feds threat out of the way. State workers are put in a no-win situation that they’ll have to escape from, namely get legal shit from the feds because they are implementing against federal law or get legal shit from the legalizers for not implementing according to state laws, i.e. the will of the people as opposed to the will of the federal few.

      The federal politicians from MMJ states will have to come to D.C. to get the feds off our cannabis-loving backs because people will be bitching left and right about how much money the lawsuits for non-implemenation are costing or how much money fighting the prosecutions by the feds is costing.

      Prohibitionists have lost! Just give up!

    5. The Oracle says:

      With lawsuits brought against state officials like this in MMJ states with on-hold programs, it ought to get rather expensively uncomfortable to make them get the feds threat out of the way. State workers are put in a no-win situation that they’ll have to escape from, namely get legal shit from the feds because they are implementing against federal law or get legal shit from the legalizers for not implementing according to state laws, i.e. the will of the people as opposed to the will of the federal few.

      The federal politicians from MMJ states will have to come to D.C. to get the feds off our cannabis-loving backs because people will be bitching left and right about how much money the lawsuits for non-implementation are costing or how much money fighting the prosecutions by the feds is costing.

      Prohibitionists have lost! Just give up!

    6. [...] posted here: New Jersey: NORML Lawyer's File Constitutional Lawsuit Over … Tags: activism, alabama, alternative, citizen, entertainment, google, government, health, [...]

    7. Joe says:

      You guys got this one =)

    8. Somedood says:

      Yay!!! I like news like this.

    9. Galileo Galilei says:

      I would dearly love to know the facts behind this delay. We have a right to know what was done, how it was done, and who is most responsible.

    10. Owen says:

      This is all the work of that fat fuck mafia pig Christie. He has a vested interest in keeping pot illegal.

    11. Ha, good luck with that one . The Judges do what they do . I’ve found that out in a recent lawsuit dispite a mountain of evidence in my defense . There is little if any justice left in America .

    12. Buster Jones says:

      New Jersey is where big PHARMA is Eli Lily and Phizer owened by the Bush Criminal Impire. And the Governor is in the pocket of big PHARMA. Anybody prove me wrong. Peace, Buster Jones Albany, GA

    13. John says:

      It is obvious all the stalling is on purpose. Sue them to legalize across the board since they refuse to enact laws!

    14. Dennis Pielack says:

      A similar situation exists in Michigan with the newly elected governor who is dismissive of a law he doen’t like, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
      By that example, he demonstrates to all that it is okay to not follow a law if you don’t like it.

    15. Brandon Boucher says:

      Amen!

    16. Anonymous says:

      re; “Today we are filing suit to require the DHHS to do what every other citizen must do — follow the law,” said William Buckman.

      if they are not following the law,
      they are BREAKING the law.

      ARREST THEM !!

    17. NORML says:

      Medical and Recreational legalization is near! keep up the good work and soon we’ll end the failing prohibition.

    18. greenthumb says:

      PLEASE REPLY PAUL!!

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090805110741.htm

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123104017.htm

      these 2 scientific articles prove that Cannabis is not AS safe as we thought. THIS CAN EASILY BE USED TO KEEP CANNABIS PROHIBITED. It is a sad truth, smoke is bad for your lungs, period, including Cannabis. I think we should really discuss what we can do to prevent Cannabis smokers from damaging their lungs by showing these facts, and discussing options Cannabis smokers have when it comes to the dangers of “smoking Cannabis” compared to other methods, (vaporizers, edibles, etc.), unlike the Tobacco companies. This is a SERIOUS matter and I think we should make the best of it.

      -greenthumb

      VOTE GARY JOHNSON!

      http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/front

    19. Rhonda byrne says:

      GET IT TOGETHER NEW JERSEY your only prolonging the inevitable MARIJUANA WILL BE LEGALL in many states the time has come cannabis has been proven not to hurt anyone except the street dealers and law DEA …. THANK YOU STATE OF MICHIGAN for approving me for Medical cannabis in 2012 i am now legal to grow 12 of my own medical cannabis plants the american medical marijuana association “AMMA” is amazing i have learned so much about this plant and her healing abilities amma also offers up to date legal advice….gods light god speed to my friends in jersey

    20. If you live in Connecticut and want to end marijuana prohibition in our state, please take a minute to visit http://www.ctprimaryproject.com.

      Please pass this on to anyone you know in Connecticut!

    21. menace says:

      FAT GUY in a little coat! VOTE HIM OUT !!!!

    22. Helge O says:

      @greenthumb
      As for your link #1:
      Growing Evidence Of Marijuana Smoke’s Potential Dangers
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090805110741.htm
      Original article name
      The Genotoxicity of Mainstream and Sidestream Marijuana and Tobacco Smoke Condensates
      Abstract:
      http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx9000286

      From the full text version of the article:
      “The results show that the marijuana particulate phase and combined particulate and gas phase samples (representative of whole smoke) were signi?cantly more cytotoxic than the matched tobacco samples. However, the gas phase of the marijuana samples appears to be less cytotoxic than the matched tobacco samples, and no inhibitory concentration could be determined for marijuana at the concentrations tested. For both the tobacco and the marijuana samples, the particulate phase was substantially more cytotoxic than the combined particulate and gas phase.”

      As you mentioned, using a vaporizer eliminates the negative effects of smoke.
      Also remember that there are more recent studies that do not link moderate cannabis smoking to cancer.

      As for your link #2:

      Marijuana Smokers Face Rapid Lung Destruction — As Much As 20 Years Ahead Of Tobacco Smokers
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123104017.htm
      Original article name
      Bullous lung disease due to marijuana
      Abstract
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18197922

      From the full text version of the article:
      “…

      We report the details of 10 patients who regularly used marijuana, and who developed new respiratory symptoms.

      The limitations of this study are that it was a case series, without a formal control group. Estimates of tobacco and marijuana use were based upon patient recollection. Finally, the population screened were those presenting with respiratory complaints to a large teaching hospital. Accordingly, there is a need to
      confirm these findings with larger prospective
      community-based studies that are controlled for tobacco use.”

      As you can see, this quotations from the full text version implies that this article does not comprise any proof either way, just an indication, based upon 10 hospitalized patients. We don’t know that it was the smoking that was the real cause that got them into hospital in the first place. May be, may be not.
      The conclusion here must be that this is an area where further research might be necessary.

      In this case too, if it should turn out to be a correlation, using a vaporizer will reduce these risks significantly also, if not altogether.

    23. Galileo Galilei says:

      @Greenthumb

      Think about, it folks. After trying desperately to demonize marijuana since that late 1960s, all they have come up with that is inhaling hot smoke is bad for your lungs.

    24. Galileo Galilei says:

      @Folks who took the time to debunk Greenthumb

      Nice job, folks.

    25. Anon_Med says:

      I am a resident of NJ and a medical user who has also been effected by this. I realize that as it was originally written, my condition (PTSD, major depression) was not covered under the law because it is “non-terminal” (I beg to differ.) However I do believe that although not covered from the get-go, the delay in enacting this has set back the progress which may have eventually made my treatment possible. I admit I have not followed this subject for a few years, mostly out of disgust for that fat @#$% Christie and the way he walks all over medical users like me for his own benefit. I have since been hospitalized for my conditions twice.Is there any way I can be of any use? Does anyone have any tips for me on how I can help to finally get the damned government of this wonderful state to comply with the letter of the law?

    26. Nancy Lee Garrett says:

      Obama is such a liar
      2008 interview about Medical Marijuana. Where he says, “What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Dept. resourdes to try and circomvent state laws on this issue.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=LvUziSfMwAw

      Such a liar.

    27. 420Noles says:

      This is just the federal government doing all they can to stop state governments from exercising there rights as states. We can get state politicians in some states to stand up for the truth and marijuana pro laws but at the federal level. We must support and fund congress and senate candidates that are pro marijuana.

    28. Thom says:

      Hey Greenthum. Marijuana has been around a long time,and if you really wont to compair pot smoking to ciggarets; well that tells me alot about you. Give it a rest, we all know B.S. when we see it, we dont need to pick it up and smell it to know it for what it is.

    29. Church says:

      Christie is a meanspirited Repugnant thug. He should be prosecuted.
      Our Constitution and our laws mean nothing to these dictators.
      But the greedy bast*rds who voted him into office love his policies of abandoning those in need so they can further fill their bloated pockets and bodies.

    30. WHiteRabbit says:

      Are you as ashamed of the president, and his administration as I am? You call this a democracy? It is looking more like a dictatorship in Asia or Africa. They are sending their jack-booted neo-military thugs to rough up the marijuana industry.

      Speak loud with your letters, emails, and votes!

    31. Church says:

      800,000 Americans are arrested each year for smoking Marijuana, a PLANT which has been found to have medicinal uses but is still a Schedule One “Drug”.
      Obama thinks that the reduction of the schedule for Marijuana is “an inappropriate subject.”
      These lawmakers have not even begun to address the blatant hypocrisy in this great nation.
      Don’t get me started.

    32. Just An Observer says:

      Keep grinding away on the legal fronts. The wins will come and the precedents set will make for more wins later on. The joke about how to eat an elephant (one bite at a time) shows how to gain victory.

    33. Scott says:

      Gov. Christie is a likely vice presidential candidate. In my opinion, the delay in implementing the NJ medical marijuana program is related to Christie’s political aspirations. Note also … Obama is cracking down in an election year as well.

    34. Dave K says:

      The states may as well use thier constitutions for toilet paper because as soon as they conflict with the fed…the states are trumped.

    35. Dave Evans says:

      Gov Christie had his brain boiling in that drug war vinegar for years. He has no idea marijuana is a good thing. Arresting people for marijuana, medical or not, is an abuse of authority and under cuts authority, which is why it is getting harder and harder to find people that actually respect the police.
      Stop the abuse!!!
      Regain some integrity!!!
      You’ll get more votes!!!

    36. Sophist says:

      This is a bunch of Crap. We shouldn’t be relying on laws to permit the use of “Medical Marijuana” The fact remains that this is a prohibition issue and we as citizens of the country have been side railed by a small few people who made their determinations on non facts for the mater of profit. We need to stop trying to get laws passed for Medical use and go right to the damn source and eliminate the dumb ass laws all together.

      I got pulled over last night after getting a bit and with no valid license(expired and didn’t renew nothing serious) and had my pot confiscated by the officer. Now that’s all fine and good but the fact is he didn’t not arrest me and let me drive home with an expired license. That in itself is odd wouldn’t you say to add to the pain of loosing my herb I didn’t get arrested and he let me drive home. I’m pretty sure because he got my pot he didn’t want to file a report as he let me drive with an expired license telling me he was satisfied with just getting my stash. Then he proceeded to tell me he used to smoke before becoming a cop and thinks the laws are dumb and that he would smoke again once retired.(Pretty obvious he just took my pot for his own use otherwise would have had to arrest me to file a proper report.) Witch he didn’t. The laws are dumb as F*&^ and we are all suffering because of a few greedy people.

    37. colonel forbin says:

      Absolutely appalling! Here I think the following words by Edward Abbey can sum it all up. Here are two quotes:

      “The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.”

      “Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”

      We must not let this continue! It is not good enough to complain about the injustice that will continue, unless, we stand up for our rights and fight for what we believe in! I’m guilty myself, I need to do more. Talk about this issue, get active in your community, write to your Senator, Representative, the paper. Blog about it. Nothing changes if nothing changes!

    38. Hey NORML, great work. One day, I want to be able to sue a state for not giving people marijuana. WIN THIS!

    39. Pat says:

      I think this is bullshit, jersey politicians are not helping at all, how can it medically be legal, but there’s no where to buy it, unfortunately I have been prescribed marijuanna in California and it helped me with my medical issues,( depression and serious anxiety). Unfortunately my house was recently raided by the police for possession of marijuanna, I am in serious trouble now. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go to any doctors in the past couple of years, but already know what they would of prescribed be and I refuse to be a zombie in the capital of prescription drugs , nj!! I can’t believe that doctors or politicians would rather see people addicted to prescription drugs and be zombies, instead of legalizing medicinal marijuanna. Actually I can bring that the politicians mostly have large amounts of money invested in the prescription pill industry!! Marijuanna was really starting to help me!! And now I’m back to where I started with very bad anxiety and depression, even more now that they raided my house and pulled guns on my girl and heard that they were going to shoot my dog, I hope somehow one day it will be legalized, but after all is said and done I will be moving to Cali for a better life, if anyone has any advice or support for me , even though my prescription was out of Cali please contact me at pdiddy479@aol.com. Power to the people!!

    40. chuck mackey says:

      delayed justice is denied justice, n we cant wait til mr. christie’s term runs out in less
      than 2 yrs,, i can assure u we(citizens of n,j,) wont b giving him a 2nd term

    41. [...] NJ–(ENEWSPF)–April 13, 2012.  Members of a NORML Legal Committee filed suit this week opposite a State of New Jersey over regulators’ disaster to exercise a [...]

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