Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jul 2011
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2011 The Daily Record


We could use this space to decry the politics and cynicism that led to
the use of marijuana for medical purposes being legal by statute but
not legal in practice for a year and a half.

But we've been down that road before, chiding the Christie
administration for its obvious delay tactics in implementing a law
that was signed by Jon Corzine just before Chris Christie replaced him
as governor.

So today we will praise Christie for coming around and instead of
putting up more roadblocks, agreeing to knock them down and finally
see to it that patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis,
glaucoma and other ailments - many of them terminal and painful - can
legally use marijuana to relieve their symptoms.

Christie held a press conference Tuesday to announce that he will
allow the state to begin dispensing marijuana to patients who derive a
demonstrated medical benefit.

Of the 16 states that have legalized medical marijuana, New Jersey's
rules will be among the most strict. Patients who use marijuana to
relieve pain won't be able to grow their own marijuana at home. There
will be just six nonprofit groups licensed to grow and sell to
patients who are cleared by their doctors and the state.

Christie was never wrong in wanting to ensure that medical marijuana
in New Jersey doesn't become a wide open door to legalized marijuana
for all, as it comes close to being in California.

But he was wrong in seemingly forgetting about the true pain the
people endure and that marijuana helps them relieve, while constantly
shifting the target for those key legislative Democrats behind the law
who wanted to reach a compromise on reasonable rules governing
legalized medical marijuana in New Jersey.

All the political games of the past year and a half have meant that
people suffering from constant nausea, aches, cloudy vision and other
symptoms that marijuana alleviates have had to continue to risk arrest
by purchasing or growing marijuana illegally.

Waiting for an assurance from the federal Department of Justice that
it wouldn't prosecute any state workers involved with the medical
marijuana administration was silly. The federal government has never
gone after state workers in places where medical marijuana is legal
and most likely never will. Christie, of all people, should know that,
as he is the former U.S. attorney for New Jersey. In 2009, not long
after Christie left that post, the Justice Department put out a memo
in that urged local federal prosecutors not to focus their strained
investigative resources on patients and caregivers complying with
state medical marijuana laws.

We're glad Christie has finally come to see the light on this and is
ready to show that he cares enough about people who are in pain to
help them and take away some of their anxiety. We hope this finally
means that in 2011, there will be a legal means for thousands of
ailing New Jerseyans to use a medicine they know to be effective but
have had to take great risks to obtain. For them, this announcement by
the governor must be gratifying. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.