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NJ: Three Medical Marijuana Deadlines In January

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Major developments are ahead this month for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program as three major deadlines will expire.

1) January 11, 2011; Law implementation - After the NJ Legislature granted a 90-day delay to The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act

2) January 14, 2011 – This is the closing date for the official written public comment period regarding the controversial regulations released by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Governor Christie cancelled the only public hearing scheduled in December for the regulations.

3) January 16, 2011 (*?) – The NJ Assembly and Senate passed a resolution last month stating that the proposed DHSS medical marijuana regulations were outside intent of the law itself. The resolution called for a 30-day re-evaluation. (*The exact deadline for the resolution is a bit unclear we have a call into NJ OLS)

The future of the Garden State’s medical marijuana program is somewhat in limbo. Officials at DHSS and the governor’s office have so far been unwilling to remove the controversial limitations such as a 10% cap on THC content. DHSS is already moving ahead with the physician registry for medical marijuana, a provision unique to NJ that some doctor’s say will have a chilling effect on the program.

Senator Nicholas Scutari, who has been the legislative champion for medical marijuana patients, published an OPED in The Bergen Record last week. Scutari appealed for Christie to work with him to bring the program online:

We challenged the rules with a formal resolution in both houses, and the governor decided to relent on the first two points. But the regulations – even as revised – still would not work.

Limiting marijuana to an arbitrary 10 percent THC all but ensures that some patients won’t get adequate relief and others will get their medicine from the streets, where the THC level is upwards of 15 percent to 20 percent. Paired with the low cost of illegally sold marijuana, it is inevitable that patients will retreat to the black market.

This is unfortunate, and I know the governor would agree that we should do everything possible to keep chronic and terminal patients from resorting to such means for relief.

Even if there continues to be a regulatory debate the full implementation of the medical cannabis law will be a milestone for New Jersey. However, patients are still not likely to gain access to legal marijuana before this summer.Examiner.com

NewsHawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Examiner.com
Author: Chris Goldstein
Copyright: 2009 Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com
Contact: Contact | Examiner.com
Website: NJ: Three medical marijuana deadlines in January
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