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N.J. Medical Marijuana Supporters Suspect Legal Review is a Stall Tactic

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TRENTON - As state Attorney General Paula Dow awaited guidance from top federal law enforcement officials on whether New Jersey's planned medical marijuana program is legal, supporters yesterday questioned whether the state was looking for a reason to delay the program's launch this summer.

Dow sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter Monday asking whether state-licensed pot cultivators, sellers and state employees who will manage the program run the risk of getting arrested by federal law enforcement officers. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and the Oakland City Council raised the question recently and received responses saying no one would get a blanket immunity from prosecution.

"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 a letter two U.S. Attorneys in Washington sent to Gregoire last week.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), who sponsored the medical marijuana law, said, "Conflicting federal laws have always been a concern when it comes to state medical marijuana programs, in New Jersey and elsewhere,'' because pot possesion and distribution remains a federal crime.

"However, more than a dozen states currently permit their operation and no employee acting within state guidelines has ever been prosecuted for carrying out their duties associated with such a program,'' Scutari said. "Asking the U.S. Attorney General to confirm their position appears to be merely another stall tactic by this administration,'' Scutari said.

The U.S. Attorney General's office spokeswoman Jessica Smith said Dow's letter is under review, and did not know when a response would be ready.

"The Department has remained consistent in its focus on enforcement and investigative activities involving marijuana on significant drug traffickers, not on individual patients with cancer or other serious diseases,'' Smith said. "We have made clear that we are not going to look the other way while these significant drug-trafficking organizations attempt to shield their illegal efforts from investigation and prosecution through the pretense that they are medical dispensaries.''

Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who worked with Scutari to pass the law, said there is "nothing new" about the Eric Holder's position on properly run state medical marijuana programs. "The legislature worked on this bill for almost five years and it was thoroughly vetted legally.''


News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: northjersey.com
Author: Susan K. Livio
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: North Jersey Media Group
Website: N.J. medical marijuana supporters suspect legal review is a stall tactic
 
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