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Christie Blowing Smoke

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The Christie administration has found yet another way to delay implementation of New Jersey's medical marijuana law. Enough already.

The measure was debated for years and thoroughly vetted by the state Legislature. It was finally adopted and signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine more than a year ago. But Christie has sabotaged it at every turn. The law took effect last October, but it's still unclear when medical marijuana will be dispensed.

Many chronically ill patients have been waiting for years. Elise Segal, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, told the Drug Policy Alliance that she and "other sick and dying patients" feel like "pawns in a game of politics being played by the Christie administration."

In the latest stall tactic, state Attorney General Paula Dow has asked the U.S. Justice Department to review the law. Dow last week requested clarification on whether federal authorities would arrest those licensed to grow medical marijuana or administer the program. Good question - but it's been answered.

The issue was cleared up in October 2009, when the Justice Department directed federal prosecutors in states that allow medical marijuana not to target patients or their sanctioned suppliers when the drug is purchased for legitimate purposes.

That directive, a welcome departure from past federal policy, made sense. It gave states a green light to pass medical marijuana laws, but left the door open for federal agents to still go after illegal marijuana operations.

New Jersey passed one of the strictest laws when it became only the 14th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. Legislators did a good job of studying the mistakes made in states like California, where providing medical marijuana has led to a booming recreational pot business with rampant abuses.

Last year, lawmakers gave Christie an extra three months to draft regulations to implement the law. That was after the state was forced to redraft its first proposed rules, which would have made it difficult for most patients to get medical marijuana. But the new rules on how the drug will be dispensed remain in limbo.

Studies show that marijuana can alleviate pain and other symptoms in seriously ill or dying patients. Christie's stalling is unduly causing those patients to suffer.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2011 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Contact: inquirer.letters@phillynews.com
Website: The Philadelphia Inquirer Digital Edition
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