Memo To New Jersey Politicians: No More Delays — It’s Time To Implement The State’s Medical Marijuana Law!

This past January, after years of debate, outgoing Democrat Governor Jon Corzine signed legislation making New Jersey the fourteenth state in the nation to allow for the state-authorized use of medical cannabis by qualified patients. The measure, known as The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, authorizes patients with a physician’s recommendation to possess and obtain medical cannabis from state-authorized “alternative treatment centers” (aka dispensaries). As signed, the measure was to take effect next month.

But that won’t happen if Republican Gov. Chris Christie has his way. Christie is seeking, and legislation has been introduced, to delay implementation of New Jersey’s long-awaited medical cannabis law by at least 90 days. Gov. Christie has also called on legislators to amend the law — which, as written, is already the most restrictive in the nation — so that patients would only be eligible to obtain medical cannabis in state hospitals. The Governor has also proposed limiting the cultivation of marijuana so that it could only legally be grown at Rutgers University. NORML opposes these amendments, which if enacted, would make New Jersey’s law totally unworkable for patients.

How so? Consider this: For over nine years the University of Massachusetts has sought — unsuccessfully — to cultivate marijuana for medical research purposes. The University even went so far as to file a legal challenge with the DEA — which it won — to gain permission to grow pot. Yet in 2009 the DEA’s acting director overruled the determination of the agency’s own administrative law judge in order to prohibit UMass from growing even a single marijuana plant. It is unlikely that a similar plan at Rutgers University would be met with any greater success.

Further, it is burdensome and unnecessary to limit patients use of medical marijuana solely to hospitals. As stated in 1988 by the United State’s Drug Enforcement Administration’s own administrative law judge, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” The plant’s compounds are virtually non-toxic to healthy cells and organs, do not depress the central nervous system, and are incapable of causing a fatal overdose.

In fact, according to a 2008 study published by the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, patients who used cannabis-based medicines reported virtually no “serious adverse effects” from the drug over a 30-year period. By contrast, even small doses of the over-the counter drug Tylenol (acetaminophen) has been conclusively shown to cause liver damage and death. It is arbitrary and unnecessary for the Governor to propose impose restrictions regarding the use of medical marijuana that are more stringent than the regulations already in place governing the distribution and use of other doctor recommended medications.

Seriously ill patients in New Jersey have waited long enough for legislative relief. It is time to implement the will of the people and the will of lawmakers.

If you reside in the Garden State, please consider visiting NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to move expeditiously in favor of implementing medicl marijuana law reform in New Jersey.

For more information please visit NORML NJ or the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

30 thoughts

  1. Why can’t a non-DEA administrative judge cut through this bullshit that prevented UMass? I’d like NORML to explain this, please.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The administrative law judge’s decision is non-binding so the agency may either ultimately accept or reject it. This issue was challenged in the courts after the DEA rejected the 1988 administrative law ruling on rescheduling. The Court of Appeals affirmed that the decision is non-binding.]

  2. I am a New Jersey resident and I am welcoming the 90 day suspension, and let me explain.

    For the past few years, my mother has been living with chronic knee pain and it has gotten progressively worse. It began about 3-4 years ago, and every year she has undergone various treatments to stop or halt her knee damage, some to moderate success, but nothing really worked. For the past year an a half she’s been using painkillers (Vicodin, Percocet, Tramadol, etc.) daily. I told her about medicinal cannabis after doing research about it myself. About a month ago she asked her doctor about the medicinal marijuana which would have gone into effect this July. Her doctor said despite her having staggering knee pain, she could not be prescribed as the NJ laws are ridiculously restrictive (only AIDs/HIV and cancer patients may receive it). This year, the pain/functionality has really caught up to her. In fact, she is scheduled for a total knee replacement in September. Still, despite this, her doctor cannot prescribe it to her.

    Hopefully within the extension date the state will realize that marijuana can be used to safely suppress pain so people with chronic pain can get it.

  3. We need a march on Washington DC. I realize that NORML is not responsible for making cannabis legal, but it is time to organize even more and call for a march from the top down. Any takers?

  4. what about new york . im getting really sick of this . alls i hear is about the “other” states. well, i want to hear about new york . atleast they can get thier weed or have it approved , we havent gotten any of that yet . it should be new yorks turn now !

  5. Governor Christie just wrote his political obituary. My husband liked him until he realized he does not have CORE REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES. I thought republican/conservatives wanted less government not more. What the hell is going on?

  6. Where on earth can I get some weed that would make me think for one minute that legalizing marijuana for ANY purpose is a CORE REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLE. Republicans/Conservatives are for less goverment when and only when it suits them and their agenda. Not that the Democrats have been any better recently, at least not the last 20 years. I don’t mean to insult anybody, and I realize a lot of people hold very sincere, very rational reasons for their prefered partisan flavor, whatever they may be, but don’t be delusional. This country (not to mention the Democratic party) is going to have to move a lot lot farther to the left before anything close to legalized marijuana is even remotely possible. My hats off to the very few Republican/Conservatives who do support Reform, but that is not where the Republican party is. Voting Republican and wanting legalized Marijuana is like trying to get from California to Arizona by heading west. Possible – yes, sane – no. Again, no offense, I’m ashamed of the Democrats cowardice on this issue.

  7. Why does the DEA have complete jurisdiction and ownership on medical decisions? Cannabis is an effective medicine … This is proven for certain conditions like MS. Not to mention cannabis is effective for pain relief and safer than the opiates!
    Of course Big Pharma doesn’t want you to hear this how would they make money from a fucking plant! Maybe i should just say I’m growing my own medicine so the pigs can storm my house trooper style and shoot my dog. That’s par for the course for these assholes.

  8. I’ll join a DC march but will need to borrow a wheelchair as I can’t walk more than 1 block without back pain. My N.Y.S. Disability claim has been denied by a bankrupt state. My lawyer says we will win but the wait is about 2 years for a hearing. Do you think 10,000 wheelchairs parked in front of the Capitol would make a difference? (All people in chairs must be certified by a MD)

  9. “bah! those stoners just want an excuse” I can hear it now (or is it ringing in my ears from the last idiot?). It is so hard for them to comprehend the concept that something that is good & enjoyable can also be medically beneficial. They can’t wrap their heads around it AT ALL.

    I still don’t get why they can’t understand this: We believe it is good, yes, and we want it for everyone. But we want it for the people who NEED it FIRST. That’s not sneaky or tricky… unless you’re only playing with 2 brain cells.

    btw– any thoughts on Palin’s recent comments? Obviously she is just doing it for political points but there is a chance we will have 2 candidates in 2012 who have (A) smoked it and (B) said things pointing towards decrim but neither would do it

  10. This system will not work.Even if a person has cancer.the amount they give you wouldnt be enough to fight it.Its sad.I agree with the man above..lets here about New York too.There is legislation efforts going on in Pennsylvania where i was born.A senator introduced a bill not very long ago.Shit i was born in this state,just because i wasnt born in cali etc shouldnt mean i cant talk to a doctor about and be legal.What the hell we can’t choose where we wwere born.

  11. People that don’t have ownership over their own bodies are enslaved.

    The drug war proponents have forgotten the good advice their mothers gave them…mind their own business and leave other people alone.

    Seeking “permission” to have control over one’s own body, is proof of our enslavement. The prohibited substance is irrelevant. If YOU don’t own your body, your master(s) do.

  12. Much hay has been raised about taking our country back this fall from the Demon-crats via conservative polices , I have some advise for my republican friends ! If you don’t jump on & embrace cannabis reform you will in essence drive away millions of potential voters and we will forever lose our freedoms to these Maoist’s ! I am a one issue voter this time around ! Free the flower, or forever lose this country !

  13. NJ is the most corrupt state in the union, the armpit of America. This governor’s decision is only going to force people to buy it on the streets where his pigs will be waiting to cash in on an easy bust and free weed to smoke.

    This is why we need to legalize and cut right through all the bullshit about medical marijuana.

  14. Re Steveyboy, Post #16

    So, let’s see if I got this right. You want to bring back into power the party–the GOP–that brought us Warrantless Wiretapping; that brought us Mandatory Drug sentencing? You have an interesting philosophy on liberty.

    I’m guessing you also think it should be a crime–see Texas GOP–to engage in oral sex and gay sex. And you call that less government intrusion? You think those guys are gonna legalize pot? Man, you’re smoking the good stuff–but, I think it’s time you cleared your head.

  15. Republican, Democrat….they are both statist assholes who want nothing more than to microchip us, take away all our rights, and more or less enslave us to the Chinese.

    if you want to legalize hemp, in all its forms, VOTE LIBERTARIAN!!!!

  16. 21-22 Puffer Manny here!

    What if we all [those who have religion] approved of religious use rather than political use – or – misuse as we now have it?

    Take care.

  17. RE Rockochet, #23

    I’m not saying there’s not dipsh*ts in both the GOP and Dem (tho I think there’s far more in the GOP). But I’m guessing there are plenty of A-holes in the Libertarian Party too.

    BTW, if you want to be taken seriously, you should probably dispense with the conspiracy stuff! Want us enslaved by the Chinese, LOL. Let me guess, they want the Aliens in Roswell to medically probe our belly-buttons too, LOL.

  18. Hey Rebel,

    Your point is taken. I don’t like obtrusive govt either. I really don’t. And if I truly felt our govt was that bad, I would be on the ramparts with you.

    In any case, I don’t think the solution is to abolish govt–it’s impossible anyway. There isn’t a country on the planet that doesn’t have a govt of some sort. But, I agree, if you have a truly bad govt, it should be disposed of.

    But what of abuse in private industry? Doesn’t that count? This big oil spill is a prime example of that–unmitigated greed trumping all else. Look at the death and destruction of the environment and animals, and the loss of jobs that has resulted. That is a prime example of how the theory of less govt–less govt oversight–is flawed.

    You always have some greedy CEOs ready to cut all the corners if they can, for the sake of their huge profit margin. They’re not satisfied with a decent profit–seems they want huge profits, at the expense of everything else. That’s where govt is supposed to come in. My problem with many of the libertarians is that they are quick to attack govt, then give the greedy corporations a free pass. Some of them don’t, it’s true, but I’ve seen too many others who do.

    (To all, I know this conversation doesn’t have anything to do with MJ, and for that I apologize.)

    See ya, Puffer

  19. 26 Puffer

    It seems to me that we agree on so many things, [how then] can we disagree on so little. Our disagreement seems to revolve around politics. Let me make one strong point, and I will back it up with my free ass. There are as many faults on one side as there is on the other. I make no mistake about that. That’s why politicians in both parties will chase their heads down the road in November – because – they won’t listen to the will of We the People. 80+% of We the People want medical cannabis legalized at the federal level – but – government won’t hear us on that, anymore than they will on the Health Bill, or the gulf spill. It’s Soros v. Rocky – and – We the People suck hind tit.

    I think the position you take is valid – but – quite simply put – “Everything revolves around politics and is unavoidable – sorry to say.” So – it’s probobly safe to say that when we discuss cannabis, there is going to be great politcal influence to consider. I think the smart thing for any politician to do is jump on the cannabis band-wagon – because – we have government so out-numbered on this issue, their resistance to it is _*^#)^^_#%!!!!!!!

    Later! Be there or be square!

  20. Hey there Rebel,

    We completely agree on the issue of MJ. Make no mistake whatever about that.

    And I agree that the politicos are generally a gutless bunch, more beholden to their largest contributors than the regular people.

    But I also believe that it is generally the oldest generation of Americans who are most opposed to MJ, medically or not, and that they are the most avid voters. And they are the voters most politicos still fear most.

    To wit, I think that as the oldies pass into the great beyond–bless their conservative hearts–that the voting demographics will inevitably become such that even the reluctant politicos in Washington will have to begin reassessing their positions on MJ. I truly believe that.

    It’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN.

    Best wishes, Longtime Puffer

Leave a Reply