Pubdate: Fri, 03 Feb 2012
Source: Express-Times, The (PA)
Copyright: 2012 The Express-Times


Two years have gone by since the New Jersey Legislature approved the
use of marijuana for medical purposes and then-Gov. Jon Corzine signed
the bill into law. Yet for those who would like to obtain marijuana
legally in the Garden State, with a physician's approval -- those
suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other
illnesses -- this attempt at medical reform is little more than pipe
dream. The state-supervised "medpot" system is still largely

While the state government overcame the ethical, legal and enforcement
obstacles back in 2010, the program's startup has turned into a zoning
battleground around the Garden State. Several towns have adopted
restrictions to effectively outlaw any growing facilities, farms or

"Not here," in other words.

Judging from the reaction in some parts, you'd think New Jersey was
about to become the East Coast equivalent of Amsterdam, with
extra-legal pot boutiques popping up like dandelions, competing with
the neighborhood bar and grill for clientele.

Yet New Jersey has the most conservative, restrictive medical
marijuana program among states that have legalized the medical use of
cannabis, with just six providers authorized. So far only the town of
Montclair has seen fit to approve a dispensing operation. Other
municipalities have used zoning laws to turn down applications.

It shouldn't require another act of the Legislature to override these
ordinances, to comply with the reasonable and limited scope of the
medical marijuana program. But that's where some legislators are
heading. For example, Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, is
proposing to include medical marijuana under New Jersey's Right to
Farm Act to override any lawsuits or zoning rules that interfere with
its production.

That seems like a odd way to address this controversy but not any
loonier than passing a "Right to Smoke" act for people looking for
pain and wasting relief they cannot get from pharmaceutical drugs.
That industry, by the way, enjoys a healthy presence in New Jersey,
because it is a major player in research and human advancement, along
with creating wealth and jobs.

Why not marijuana? 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.