New Jersey legislature turns on Gov. Christie over medical marijuana regulations

California isn’t the only state that has been debating its medical marijuana laws recently. On Monday, New Jersey’s state Senate rejected a proposal put forth by Republican Governor Chris Christie for the state’s new medical marijuana program, pitting the two branches against each other in a debate that centers on the state’s constitution.

In the legislature, state lawmakers are accusing Christie of using regulations to change a law he simply does not like. The governor, however, says New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not effectively prevent abuse of the drug.

With Monday’s decision, legislators pushed back, giving the Christie administration 30 more days to rewrite the rules of the state’s marijuana program. The original set, they said, was too restrictive and did not carry out the intent of the law that legalized marijuana for medical purposes earlier this year.

As one of his last official acts in office, then-Democratic Governor Jon Corzine signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana just days before his term expired last January. Corzine signed the bill despite the fact that Christie expressed major misgivings about legalized cannabis.

In a press conference just before the legislature voted in favor of the legislation in overwhelming numbers, Christie said, “I think we all see what’s happened in California. It’s gotten completely out of control.”

Despite Christie’s apprehension and the fact that his background as a district attorney inadvertently casts him as the traditional drug warrior, major players in the marijuana community do credit the governor with being open to the idea of medical marijuana. But the praise essentially stopped there when Christie rolled out his plan for implementing the last-minute bill signed by his predecessor.

Implementation first proved to be a bumpy road this past summer when, according to those familiar with the process, a deal for Rutgers University to have a monopoly on cultivation and teaching hospitals a monopoly on distribution, fell through. That is when Christie reached a backroom compromise with Democrat Assemblyman Reed Gusciora that marijuana activists called “restrictive” and nothing more than a “regulatory scheme”.

Among other things, the compromise deviated from the law passed in January by limiting the amount medical marijuana can be dispensed to patients to two ounces per month, allowing alternative treatment centers to only distribute three types of cannabis, prohibiting home delivery, and limiting one of the dugs components, THC, to 10 percent.

It also would have required physicians to join a registry before being allowed to suggest medical marijuana to patients with illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and AIDS.

“I don’t think it’s too far to call it draconian,” Chris Goldstein of the New Jersey Coalition for Medical Marijuana (NJCMM) told The Daily Caller in reference to Chrstie’s proposals. “They’ve created an extreme set of regulations. But the regulatory process is supposed to be more pragmatic, where you follow the intent of the law.”

“We feel the governor is significantly tying to alter the law,” Goldstein continued, insisting that scientific evidence shows marijuana is a safe, effective treatment that improves the quality of life for many patients. “We’re ignoring science and instead engaging in politics. That is what the Christie administration is doing. It is truly Chris Christie versus [everyone] else.”

  • craigiri

    Ah, another crackdown from the guy who is supposed to believe in smaller and less intrusive government!

    I guess he doesn’t want to upset that amazing 100 billion dollar welfare program we call the war on drugs…

  • barnone

    All they need to do is to take the Hand Gun possession guidelines and change it to Marijuana. Didn’t they just convict a guy who legally owned the guns? They were unloaded in his trunk and moving to a new residence.

    So to have Marijuana, background check, waiting period, special classes before obtaining a license and illegal to actually use it in city limits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Nelson/100000172083764 Bill Nelson

    Nice to see all the stoners piping in on this one.

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  • Supernatural Witness

    Christie said, “I think we all see what’s happened in California. It’s gotten completely out of control.”

    This phase says it all. Govt just cannot feel satisfied unless they are in control of peoples’ lives. DUI and public intox should be illegal. Otherwise, govt should not be controlling my food or medicine intake. There was no drug control before 100 years ago even though drugs were created on the first day. Societies managed for the last 6000 years without big brother holding the pill bottle hostage.

    Rev. 22:1 ¶ Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
    Rev. 22:2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Nelson/100000172083764 Bill Nelson

      cant say I have ever seen someone use the bible to further the idea of marijuana consumption. Congrats on sinking to a new low

      • Supernatural Witness

        Maybe you should try readin it. In the Bible, adultery and sodomy are capital crimes to be regulated by society. In the Bible, drug use is to be regulated by the individual. The Bible does not condone excessive indulgence but it does limit judgement on disputable matters to idolatry, sexuality, consumption of blood, and meat with blood in it.

        It is the clear teaching of the Bible that plants were purposely created to have medicinal and psychoactive properties to be used but not to abused.

        Good Use-
        “It is not for kings, O Lemuel — not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

        “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”

        Bad Use-
        “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands.”

  • Momma M

    I am disappointed in Christie’s stance. If regulating medication is based on the likelihood of abuse, than MANY medications would simply no longer be available – including cough syrups, pain meds, nuerological medications and many, many more.
    ANYTHING can be abused for Heaven’s sake… The government has NO right to decide WHICH risks I take and which I don’t…. I’m an AMERICAN and I can think for myself and make my OWN choices, thank you very much.

    • GonePostal

      This is an excellent point Momma M, and this issue is at the heart of what people talk about when they say “too much government”. I did not see Christie resorting to a nanny-state approach to this, While I still like Christie, and I know that won’t agree with a politician I like on every issue, I’m disappointed.

  • robb32

    Disappointing that Christie is continuing the old guard reefer madness attack on marijuana…hope he has no plans for national elections as this loses him the support of this Tea party family…and we don’t even live in Joisey. It’s all about PERSONAL responsibility, not what the Govt FORCES on you. Even God isn’t that obsessive.