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New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law Delayed, Residents Concerned


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
In quick floor votes the New Jersey Legislature passed bills to move back the effective date of New Jersey's medical marijuana law another 90 days. Free of any more hurdles the program could be fully operational by the middle of next year, but there are lingering concerns among advocates.

State officials have been tight-lipped about their plans for medical marijuana. This has left the New Jersey residents suffering with qualifying medical conditions wondering just when (or if) they will be able to register for legal access.

Governor Christie's administration had asked for a 6-12 month delay to the law along with additional, fundamental changes to the program. The legislature seems to have rejected those concepts, yet seems keen on hearing about ideas for the program; unless those ideas come from local cannabis advocates.

Peter Rosenfeld is a potential patient on the Board of Directors at the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ). He said in a press release today: "We hope that during this delay NJ-DHSS is more transparent than it has been in the last six months, allowing our group and other interested groups to give feedback about the program."

Appointed state regulatory officials have yet to meet with advocacy groups or patients themselves. CMMNJ volunteers and other groups have attempted to open a dialogue with Christie Administration since February but to no avail. Dozens of individual patients have reached out to the Governor's Office, DHSS and various government entities to offer any information necessary to serve the law.

But form-letter responses given to advocates by NJ DHSS officials seem to be treating the process like a Request for Proposal.

CMMNJ's Rosenfeld received one of those letters and said today, "The Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) has to be enacted expeditiously...Patients need a reasonable and effective system."

The Department of Health and Human Services has oversight of the medical cannabis program. Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh fully endorsed the medial and scientifical value of cannabis in a recent NJN appearance. But some of her comments in that same program had patients like Peter Rosenfeld worried.

"Dr. Alaigh stated that the delay was needed to ensure that New Jersey's program not become a 'wild, wild west' like California's medical marijuana program. The DHSS Commissioner must know that New Jersey's law is already the strictest medical marijuana program in the nation. It would be impossible for our program to have any of the attributes of California."

When the new amendment is signed New Jersey health officials must begin to issue draft rules and regulations for the medical marijuana on October 1st and implement them starting January 1, 2011.

All indicators point to a continued effort by the Christie Administration to strongly influence the medical cannabis program.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Examiner.com
Author: Chris Goldstein
Contact: Examiner.com
Copyright: 2010 Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com
Website: New Jersey medical marijuana law delayed, residents concerned

* Thanks to MedicalNeed for submitting this article
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