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Christie Says He'll Delay Medical Marijuana Law Until Feds Give OK

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TRENTON, NJ. – Governor Christie won't implement the state's medical marijuana law until the federal government assures him they won't prosecute anyone for working in the program.

The federal government has not given similar assurances to other states running medical marijuana programs. Under President Obama, the Department of Justice has not sought to prosecute anyone working in a state-approved medical marijuana program.

"The federal government is saying medical marijuana is against the law," Christie said in an appearance on the "On the Line" call-in show. "Until I get that assurance, I cannot ask people to do things that they might get prosecuted by federal prosecutors."

Christie said his office has written two letters to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and not received a response.

"What happens if they get arrested and I ordered them to do it? That's wrong," Christie said.

State Attorney General Paula Dow has been waiting since April for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to explain whether people who legitimately work to make medical marijuana available would be shielded from federal prosecution.

Possession and distribution of the drug is a federal crime, even though 16 states passed laws making it available to select patients.

"As the state's chief legal adviser to all of the departments in the Executive Branch, many of which are participating in carrying out the medical marijuana legislation, it is critical that I properly advise them as to the potential criminal and civil ramifications of their actions in carrying out their duties," according to Dow's letter to Holder in April. "Accordingly, I ask that you provide me with clear guidance as to the enforcement position of the Department of Justice relative to New Jersey's medical marijuana legislation and the scope of the entities and individuals who may be subject to civil suit or criminal prosecution."

Christie said federal law enforcement officials have not responded yet.

Letters responding to the inquiries in Washington and Oakland have repeated earlier assertions by Holder that patients legally using a program would not be targeted. But blanket immunity would be extended to program operators.

"We maintain the authority to enforce the Controlled Substance Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law," according to the letter to Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Christie has said that if he were governor when the medical marijuana was passed he would not have signed it. The law was signed by former Gov. Jon Corzine on his last day in office.

Christie was accused of trying to hold up the implementation of the medical marijuana law when he created the regulations to govern the program. After negotiations with lawmakers who authored the legislation, a compromise was struck and the program was set to move forward.

The administration already selected who will sell and grow for the program.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: northjersey.com
Author: Ginger Gibson, Susan K. Livio
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: North Jersey Media Group
Website: Christie says he'll delay medical marijuana law until feds give OK
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