January 12, 2012

Medical Marijuana Battle Heating Up In New Jersey

January 12, 2012
New Jersey Legalization Proposal Should Include Social Justice Revisions

New Jersey medical marijuanaWhile The Fight Over Medical Marijuana Gardens In New Jersey Lingers, New Jersey Medical Marijuana Patients Suffer

I have said it from the beginning – give New Jersey medical marijuana patients the right to grow their own medical marijuana, otherwise access will be drastically delayed. Sadly, as predicted, New Jersey medical marijuana patients are still without legal medicine. Undoubtedly many of them are going to the unregulated black market to get their medicine, or even worse, they go without medical marijuana altogether. It took way longer than governments estimates predicted to get the grower application process going. To further complicate things, local municipalities have blocked the proposed medical marijuana garden locations.

New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon is trying to prevent the local governments from attempting to block the medical marijuana locations, which are backed by state law. State law of course trumps local law, however, federal law trumps state law and I predict the feds will come in and back the local governments. Especially considering New Jersey is so close to DC. At least out here in the West we don’t get harassed as often as we would if our laws were implemented closer to DC.

New Jersey Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) is hoping to get legislation out next week which would extend protections to the medical marijuana gardens under the Right to Farm Act. “I put this legislation together to respond to the attempts by some towns to thwart the intent of the medical marijuana laws and regulations,” O’Scanlon said in a statement. There have been multiple local governments that have already passed resolutions in opposition to medical marijuana. “My legislation will thwart the ‘not in my backyard arguments being used to curtail a legally sanctioned activity in New Jersey,” O’Scanlon said in an interview Saturday.

“The bottom line of the intent of these laws is to make this valuable and essential drug available to the very sick or those suffering from chronic or extreme pain,” O’Scanlon said. “New Jersey has the strictest medical marijuana rules and regulations in the country. When drafting the enacting legislation, we considered the legitimate public safety concerns and the effect medicinal marijuana may have on crime rates.”

I hate how the mayor of one of the municipalities is going to fight medical marijuana regardless of the chances he can beat the state. He’s just that into reefer madness I guess. The article I linked to above stated, “Howell Mayor Robert Walsh said Sunday that he was unaware of O’Scanlon’s plans to introduce a state law that would squash his local law. He acknowledged that there is no application before his town. “The law gives us the right to fight anything that’s not in the best interest of the township,” Walsh said. “Will we lose in the end? Yes, we may.””

“We really need to rebalance the debate on these facilities and get back to what’s important – helping those who are suffering,” O’Scanlon said. I tip my hat to you Assemblyman O’Scanlon, I hope your legislation gets introduced soon and I hope to put it up on my site to help get the word out!

Meanwhile, one of the municipalities that passed anti-medical marijuana resolutions is demanding an investigation into how their area was picked for a medical marijuana garden in the first place. The Township Committee in Upper Freehold is alleging that the medical marijuana provider that was going to operate in their area ‘provided fraudulent information on its application.’ This of course is the same people that sent a letter to the Governor of New Jersey and other state officials demanding that the entire state program be shut down. In reaction to the Upper Freehold demands, I would like to demand that the committee in Upper Freehold be required to retake their high school civics courses because they obviously missed the part about democracy.

The Governor of New Jersey might also need to retake his civics courses. In yet a third article that just came out, medical marijuana hater and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated the following, “”I absolutely believe this should be determined by local elected officials. If they want a dispensary or a growing facility in their town, that’s up to them. If they don’t, I will not as governor force them to take it,” Christie said at an unrelated press conference in Camden.

“The fact is the Legislature in 2009, early 2010, along with Gov. Corzine, passed a very flawed medical marijuana (law), and we see now how flawed it is … There was no thought given to what would happen if no one wants to take these dispensaries or these farms to grow the marijuana,'” he said. “And so you’re not going to see me, whether a Republican or Democratic legislator suggested it…I am not going to force this down the throats of municipalities.”

Who is going to win the showdown? Only time will tell. One thing that is for sure, the biggest losers in this battle are the patients who continue to suffer until legal medical marijuana access is implemented in New Jersey. Give medical marijuana patients in New Jersey the right to grow their own medical marijuana!


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