Pubdate: Mon, 20 Jun 2011
Source: Home News Tribune (East Brunswick, NJ)
Copyright: 2011 Home News Tribune
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


We get it already -- Gov. Chris Christie doesn't like the state's 
legalization of medical marijuana.

That's abundantly clear at this point, considering the governor 
continues to maneuver at every turn to block implementation of the 
law. He's challenged the number and selection of distribution centers 
and growers, played around with the required strength of the drug and 
other provisions, and now says he wants assurances from the federal 
government that those involved in the program will not be prosecuted 
for that involvement.

The likelihood of any response from the federal government reaching a 
level of "assurance" that would satisfy Christie is remote -- and the 
governor undoubtedly knows that. The feds aren't going to guarantee 
anything, even though it is not uncommon for state laws to conflict 
with federal laws. Any forthcoming statement from authorities will 
almost certainly be deemed by Christie as insufficient. And then what?

Christie's critics say this is all about appeasing his Republican 
right-wing support, denying pain relief to chronically ill patients 
because, well, marijuana is an evil thing. We'd have to agree with 
those critics because, frankly, Christie is typically much too sharp 
to have handled the law's implementation in this way unless he wanted 
to scuttle it all along.

Consider, for instance, this latest requirement for a federal 
guarantee. Isn't that something Christie -- who is a former federal 
prosecutor, after all -- would have been pursuing much sooner than 
this if it were so vital to implementation? The state attorney 
general reportedly has been waiting for a response from the feds 
since April; if Christie were sincere about working this out, that 
time frame should be April of last year, or some other point far more 
distant than a couple of months ago.

During his gubernatorial campaign, Christie expressed support for the 
concept of legalizing medical marijuana, but said the law wasn't 
strict enough. He said he didn't want New Jersey's law to become 
widely abused as it has been in California, for example.

That was a reasonable concern, although his characterization failed 
to note more successful implementations in many other states. But 
Christie's actions regarding the law since haven't been those of a 
governor who genuinely cared about addressing those concerns and 
making the law work. Instead, he has thrown new obstacles into the 
mix piecemeal, forcing supporters to overcome those obstacles only to 
find that Christie has introduced another new caveat or decided to 
place greater emphasis on another supposed deficiency.

The goal, it appears, is to delay, delay, delay, perhaps forever, or 
at least as long as Christie has political mileage to gain from the 

It's time for Christie to put some basic compassion for patients who 
can benefit from medical marijuana ahead of his own self-interest, 
and allow the law to start providing the relief it is designed to provide.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom