Gov. Christie Allows Medical Marijuana, Regulations Still Need Work
Trenton — NJ Governor Chris Christie held a press conference on July 19, 2011 to address the status of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. He has decided to reverse his suspension of the program and allow six Alternative Treatment Centers to move ahead with their operations.
After discussing the various intersections or conflicts between state and federal laws Christie said, “I have instructed the Commissioner of Health to move forward as expeditiously as possible to implement the [program].”
“We are happy that the governor is moving forward with the medicinal marijuana program,” said Ken Wolski, a registered nurse and executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ). “Patients have suffered too long waiting for this,” said Wolski, “In thousands of cases patients in NJ have already died without the improvement in quality of life and relief of suffering that marijuana can bring.”
CMMNJ remains focused on a final set of rules for the program that will be workable. “We still have a number of concerns about the regulations put out by the DHSS for this program,” Wolski said, “The physician registry is unnecessary and will disqualify numerous patients. Plus the cap on THC level is arbitrary and home delivery is not being permitted. These are all roadblocks to patient access that we hope the Christie Administration will reconsider.”
Some of the ATCs have expressed the same concerns. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/03/07/nj-to-hold-hearing-on-medical-marijuana-rules/
Seriously ill New Jersey residents who would qualify under the law expressed surprise and measured hope at the governor’s change in rhetoric.
Jay Lassiter lives with HIV and has testified for better regulations in Trenton, “This is a small step in the right direction for New Jersey and I’m glad that Governor Christie has finally discovered a sense of urgency to help New Jersey residents with cancer and AIDS. I look forward to the day when I won’t be a criminal just for taking medical cannabis.”
Charles Kwiatkowski, a father of three, lives with multiple sclerosis and has been one of the most visible patient advocates in New Jersey. “It’s good and bad…all the restrictions,” Kwiatkowski said today. “But, I’ll believe it when I see it. So far it has been a really long, painful wait.”