N.J. Wrestles with Medical Marijuana Legislation
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N.J. Wrestles with Medical Marijuana Legislation
Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2009 at 05:58:22 PT
By Chris Megarian and Susan K. Livio
Source: Star-Ledger
New Jersey -- The State Police and the New Jersey Army National Guard took to the South Jersey skies in a Black Hawk helicopter last week to train officers how to locate and bust marijuana growers.A day later, lawmakers in Trenton approved a bill they hope, if enacted, would allow seriously ill residents to legally use marijuana for medical purposes.
The two events highlight a thorny question for New Jersey: How do you make it legal for some residents to smoke pot, while it's against the law for everyone else? Lawmakers are looking at 13 states that allow medical marijuana to make sure the legislation they pass has enough restrictions so only those who really need it can get it.One mantra they seem to have adopted: Don't be like California.California has been widely criticized for adopting legislation that is too lax. There, retail outlets have been selling to an estimated 200,000 registered users and have been the repeated target of federal drug enforcement raids.New Jersey lawmakers "were very concerned about opening the floodgates, being irresponsible and allowing people who should not use this abuse this," Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the sponsors of the bill, (A804), said during Thursday's Assembly Health Committee hearing. They "certainly did not want to send out the message we are encouraging illegal drug use," he said.These concerns drove dramatic revisions:Only people suffering from specific diseases -- AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and seizure disorders -- would be allowed to use the illegal drug. The original bill defined eligible users by their symptoms.Only the registered patient may retrieve the drug from the grower, or, if the patient is unable to do so, a courier service could be arranged to deliver the pot to the patient's home. The original bill allowed a designated caregiver to retrieve the illegal drug on the patient's behalf.No one would be allowed to grow their own pot. The original bill would have permitted patients to grow as many as six plants -- and possess up to one additional ounce of usable marijuana. Under the new version, patients could only get the drug -- no more than one ounce a month -- through a licensed nonprofit growing facility."New Jersey appears to have learned some lessons from California," said Dan Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance in California.When the California law passed 13 years ago, "it gave very little guidance to anyone -- law enforcement, counties -- how to make this law work best for public safety and health," Abrahamson said. "There was some chaos that ensued."Overnight, dispensaries operating whenever and however they wanted opened in communities that didn't want them, he said. Critics contend only a small percentage of medicinal users there have serious illnesses.With cities and counties allowed to enact different laws, pot is sold legally from hundreds of shops in Los Angeles, and dispensaries have doctors on-site to assess patients' ills. Oakland allows people with a medical card to acquire as many as 72 plants, "for any illness for which marijuana provides relief," according to recent published reports. Snipped   Complete Article: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)Author:  Chris Megarian and Susan K. Livio, The Star-LedgerPublished: Sunday, June 07, 2009Copyright: 2009 Newark Morning Ledger Co.Contact: eletters starledger.comWebsite: Articles:Tighter Medical-Marijuana Bill Clears Panel Committee Passes Bill To Allow MMJ
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on June 09, 2009 at 09:16:33 PT
Thank you. Very nice. We were at our neighbors for a cookout on Sunday and the topic of oil came up. Our friend said it could mean we wouldn't have to burn firewood anymore because we would get free gas. I said that is true and it would help us out particularly as we get older. I said we have great water and often people lose their water after drilling. I held up my glass of water and I said which one is more important? A glass of pure water or a glass of oil? He said point made. 
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Comment #26 posted by museman on June 09, 2009 at 08:46:54 PT
FoM - a musical response
I wonder why nothing ever changes, Everybody should have got the news by now. Armed with all the wisdom of the ages, We still canít change a sword into a plow.  And after all, you canít find freedom if it ainít for sale, And you canít buy tomorrow if youíre still payiní for yesterday.  My arrival was the same as everyone. I was born with nothing in my hand. Yet today I was just sittiní in the sun, And I felt the fire thatís burniní all the land. Some may say itís just imagination, In a few more years theyíll say the sky was never blue. And the rich ones still claim thereís no relation To the things theyíve done, and the things theyíre gonna do.  And after all, you canít find freedom if it ainít for sale, And you canít buy tomorrow if youíre still payiní for yesterday  If a flaming mountain fell into the ocean, And no one looked, how would anyone see? And how could anyone have such a notion, If it were not possible for such a thing to be? Some may say, ďIt could never happen.Ē They used to say their little world was flat. If thereís a reason nothing ever changes, They are a fine, fine, example of that.  And after all, you canít find freedom if it ainít for sale, And you canít buy tomorrow if youíre still payiní for yesterday And after all, you canít find freedom if it ainít for sale, And you canít buy tomorrow if youíre still payiní for yesterday 
After All
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on June 09, 2009 at 08:21:09 PT
Just My Thoughts
It really is disheartening to watch our issue get highjacked again by the right even though they aren't in power. I have seen enough of their antics for a lifetime. Cannabis and money making seem to be what they want. If marijuana laws were changed it would be free or very inexpensive and not cost hundreds of dollars for a measley ounce. I want to see people that don't have a lot of money win their freedom. 
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Comment #24 posted by museman on June 09, 2009 at 07:43:29 PT
Because we allowed it.We gave the time of our lives to provide the substance of our own governance. We paid the extortion fees, called 'taxes', we found our little social/economic niches where we could feel 'superior' to somebody, or just safe from the struggle of illuminating truth in a very dark world.We were willing to defend the right of rich and powerful -because we did not believe that we ourselves had any power unless it is handed down from the 'top.'We easily swallowed whatever compromises the status quo has set in place, because it is just easier, and less dangerous to say "Yes Massa." than to challenge the ancient entrenched systems of class, and other invented values that form the 'weights and measures' of our 'civilization.'We eagerly sought refuge in the church, and other fraternities of segregation and seperatism, where we could join our fellow escapees in the game of judgement and condemnation of others for their differences.We lapped up the fake 'honors' that are associated with 'beating the competition' and the ability to conform to Status Quo standards of appearance and 'bearing.' We pretended that the invisible clothes of the Emperors were a great fit!We believed the cowed teachers that were afraid to teach, because they might 'lose their job' who drove home the party lines of 'you can't fight city hall' 'my country right or wrong' 'global warming is a hoax' and 'marijuana is a dangerous drug.' -to scratch the surface. And as we were rewarded for ruthlessnes in overcoming our fellows in 'benign' war games, called 'competition' we measure our success by comparing our 'fortune' to others.Out of fear we taught our children to 'not make waves' to not 'rock the boat' 'its just the way it is.' We told the young imagination what it 'cannot do' and that they must just 'accept their 'lot' in life.'We continued to buy status quo symbols like Cadillacs and SUVs, even though we knew 30 years ago where this was going.The wisdom and knowlege necessary to end millennia of darkness and ignorance walks among us, ignored, ridiculed, mocked, and held in extreme contempt by the various pretenses of the status quo 'standards of comparison.'The "Stone that the builders rejected" has been quietly assembled in diverse places in the earth, and while most of the world have been worshipping at the altar of fantasy and illusion, the true 'temple' of Higher Consciousness has been built. The fact that those who pretend to see the illusion, cannot actually see the real is a phenomenon that amazes me. But of course its only logical to conclude, that if you fill the vessel up with dross, there's not much room for the good stuff.
No compromise with truth ever served anyone but the liars and thieves. If one knowingly and willingly supports the systems of the Status Quo -except at the basic survival level (feeding your kids) then their 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' should come as no surprise, when it comes- and it will, theres' way too much kharma racked up for it not to come. Justice happens without mans intent.Cannabis can help free the mind from the shackles of the Status Quo, but only if one wants to be free. It seems that many are all too willing to sacrifice the bulk of their liberties for a few table scraps from the compromises 'offered' by the suits and ties.Rise up against the madness.Stop taking wooden nickels.Just say no to thugs.Stop believing in money, start believing in the Earth, the water, and the air.Give no credibility to the illusion, and stop pretending the emperors clothes are real.Take your freedom and, liberty, it belongs to YOU, not to somebody else, and nobody else can 'guarantee' it, or give it to you.FREE CANNABIS FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on June 08, 2009 at 10:19:41 PT
You know...
you have to wonder why they love prohibition of cannabis so much. It's obviously not working at all. Yet they cling to it like it's some sort of magical spell that they just can't give up on... in spite of the fact that it's never worked.It's such an unjust law that it breeds disrespect for law in general. The prohibition laws have accomplished not one good thing in seventy one years. After 71 years is it going to start working this year? There's no doubt whatsoever that prohibition has harmed more people's lives, young and old and all in between... even taken them... than cannabis use ever did or could.Why do they cling to it like it's a good thing and helping people? It's so obviously really bad policy yet they praise it and try to reinforce it when they should be dismantling it.Are they in love with the tradition of prohibition? Obviously they feel insecure at the thought of being without it... but why... it doesn't work and never has. Is it because it gives law enforcement a "tool"... a hammer to hammer more people and intimidate more people than they would get to without it? It should be over something very serious that any person is allowed to lock another person in a cage or point a weapon at him. Cannabis consumption, possession, or even distribution is not that serious. Not nearly. Consuming a plant like cannabis, if you so desire to, is NOT a sin and it is NOT wrong. If your conscience says not to do it... for you... that's fine. You really shouldn't do it if your conscience tells you not to, but "Why should I (or anyone else) be governed by another man's conscience" in matters such as consumption or use of a plant?How can this real injustice just keep going on, year after dreadful year? It seems it goes on because some powerful people make income off prohibition. It's money. That's wrong. Lawmakers that love this prohibition have chosen to keep the money flowing to the prohibitionists even at the cost of other people's very lives... and that really is wrong... whether their "seared over" consciences tell them so or not.
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on June 08, 2009 at 09:58:27 PT
Just a Thought
Sometimes I wonder why won't they just fix California's medical marijuana community. It's almost always Republicans that get carried away about marijuana issues but why? Then I think because cannabis has the ability to allow a person to let their mind wander where they choose that it doesn't fit for them since they want followers rather then free thinkers. 
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on June 08, 2009 at 09:39:57 PT
Storm Crow
I think you're right. The lovers of prohibition greatly fear what they see as virtual legalization in the California model.
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Comment #20 posted by Storm Crow on June 08, 2009 at 09:05:45 PT
"Don't be like California...."
Because IT IS WORKING! They WANT MMJ to fail! Can't remember where it is from but I remember a quote about "unless you can make the people suffer, how can you be sure they are under your control?" Pretty ugly, but it hits the nail on the head. Our "public servants" have a sick need to be "public masters" and are quite willing to let us suffer and die just to prove their power.No other even halfway safe herbal remedy is so restricted. I can legally use Jimson weed seeds (in very tiny amounts) to control cold symptoms- even though it can cause extreme hallucinations and even death in larger amounts. It would be my own dang fault if I killed myself with it and apart from a news article, no one would care! If I use a SAFE, never fatal herb, cannabis, for flu symptoms, and I could end up in prison for YEARS in most states! What is wrong with this picture?If Marinol's synthetic THC is schedule 3, why is NATURAL THC Schedule 1? They have been telling us for years that synthetic vitamins are exactly the same as natural vitamins. Shouldn't the same hold true with THC? Equal with St. John's Wort is what I DEMAND!
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Comment #19 posted by HempWorld on June 07, 2009 at 18:10:15 PT
DCW and all of you!
God ...
On a mission from God!
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on June 07, 2009 at 17:51:51 PT
Sam & FoM and everyone,
You asked: Why has the national marijuana reform movement abandoned the California model.Another reason is because the people against legalizing cannabis for medical use use the California example as a reason to not accept the concept.We allow that rebuttle to go unchecked and that's why We don't stick to the Cal. example.It may help but may not happen, to see a large population of the California residents who benefit from using cannabis medicinally to write letters speaking out when they appear in national papers and used to discount the Cal. model.At some point in every states decission process of wether or not to accept cannabis for medical use, the California model is brought up as an example of bad law when in fact it is the best.I don't care if people are making money on it in Cal. People are making money on it everywhere. If the compassion centers are not the ones selling it then sick people will get it from the guy on the corner... That isn't going to stop till it's completely and fully RE-legalized. In the mean time, the compassion center folks are taking a risk (less now that Obama has taken the latest policy stand), paying taxes and supplying sometimes better product than the government would, the kid would etc...In the mean time We must all keep doing what We're doing and keep doing it better because it's working. We keep getting better at getting this job done. And the job is getting done. I feel as though We are all doing the work of God...We're exposing evil and it must and will end.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on June 07, 2009 at 13:22:21 PT
Comment 15
You'd think they'd all see it clearly. But they, the politicians, seem to see it a little differently. If they take something as a mandate of the people to them, in this case Medical Marijuana and that mandate is, in fact, at exact odds with the biggest money... the biggest unions... the biggest corporations... their biggest buddies at the clubs and resorts and parties...the biggest donors to their campaigns to stay in office, have a choice. Mandate of the people or my campaign money and political and social buddies and friends? They also have their own personal beliefs to deal with. Murtha, Grassley, Souder, and Sensenbrenner come most immediately to mind. Mandates don't seem to matter much if they are at odds with the politician's personal beliefs or if they might interfere with their ability to side with the main source of funds they need to stay in political office.But, thankfully there are a few of nobler character and there are a few that have enough sense to know that no amount of campaign cash will buy the votes of those they have betrayed.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on June 07, 2009 at 12:59:29 PT
Struggling with the "Rock"
Feature: New York Republicans, Prosecutors in Last Minute Bid to Block Rockefeller Reform Provision
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 07, 2009 at 11:22:53 PT
When Bush won he said he had a mandate from the people. I think the Democrats should stand on that now too. It's nice to try to give and take but not when it comes to our issues since such a large majority of people want medical marijuana legalized.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 07, 2009 at 10:44:26 PT
FoM Comment 5
"It's beginning to drive me a little crazy the way they just give up."I'm concerned about that, too. 
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Comment #13 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 07, 2009 at 10:03:15 PT
Follow the money
I have always said, "Follow the money to see why things happen, or do not."The prohibitionist economy is important in understanding why positive change is not occurring rapidly. Wars have been a large part of economic expansion in the last century. I see govt moving to a health model, more than criminal, very positive.
If easing pain was a priority than war would be stopped.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2009 at 09:49:49 PT
WAMM - I totally agree
yes, WAMM is absolutely the idea model but note that WAMM only became possible because of Prop 215. Fascinating that people could mention WAMM while criticizing Prop 215 - it's precisely because of Prop 215 that WAMM exists.It seems fair to me - people are free to join or start collectives to grow medical cannabis, OR they can just go to the nearby dispensary and pay for it. As I said, California is the best place on Earth right now if you're a legitimate medical cannabis patient.
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2009 at 09:47:19 PT
one more word & I"ll stop
Suggestion: try volunteering to help people in wheelchairs with Multiple Sclerosis for a while, and then evaluate your own personal view on medical cannabis laws.Sorry, you have to keep buying cannabis from a black market dealer that sells you schwaggy Mexican garbage because we don't want a few new businessmen to make too much profit.Sorry, you'll have to get through tonight with your legs twitching and jumping in painful spasms without cannabis because we didn't want a few businessmen to make too much profit.This is my reality folks, in case you were wondering where my opinions come from.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 07, 2009 at 09:46:04 PT
I don't care if people make money but that wasn't the purpose of Prop 215. When I look at a situation I look at it how it is not what I might want. I guess that is just my nature. To me WAMM was the perfect model and I had hoped that would have become the way for it to work. 
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Comment #9 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2009 at 09:40:46 PT
Prop 215
I guess I'm just a little greedy. I want medicine to relieve my chronic pain. I see that California is BY FAR doing the best job for patients in pain.Frankly I don't concern myself with other people making money. I just want the pain to stop - for myself and others. Whether or not "people" make lots of money is pretty much irrelevant. I don't meddle in other people's business unless it's hurting me or someone else.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 07, 2009 at 09:35:47 PT
I know my state is against full legalization. Over 70s percent say no if I have my figures correct. 
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on June 07, 2009 at 08:43:15 PT
Yet another case for full legalization!
"Because it is making some people tons of money. That was never the intention of Prop 215. It has hurt the medical marijuana movement big time and it is so darn sad to me."
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 07, 2009 at 08:29:56 PT
You asked: Why has the national marijuana reform movement abandoned the California model.Because it is making some people tons of money. That was never the intention of Prop 215. It has hurt the medical marijuana movement big time and it is so darn sad to me.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 07, 2009 at 08:27:08 PT
It's beginning to drive me a little crazy the way they just give up. The most important point is inexpensive access. People do not have money to buy cannabis at those prices unless they are rich. It is morally so wrong to me. Hopefully more Republicans will get voted out until finally Democrats don't need to cater to them anymore. 
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2009 at 08:26:00 PT
Prop 215
We can all see that Prop 215 has virtually legalized cannabis in California, the federal govt. just admitted defeat and the law is 100% cemented into place. With the state collecting hundreds of millions in sales taxes it's in no danger of repeal.Why has the national marijuana reform movement abandoned the California model and instead moved in the opposite direction with medical MJ reform? Why is the upcoming referendum in Arizona the weakest proposal yet - the first medical MJ referendum EVER that does not allow patient cultivation? 
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on June 07, 2009 at 08:22:20 PT
medical MJ reform off the rails? 
Yet another medical marijuana law that has been watered-down so far as to be useless.Why do drug reformers accept "compromises" that negate 90% of the benefits of their proposals?Any medical marijuana law that does not allow patient culitvation is nearly useless. And 90% of medical MJ patients use cannabis for chronic pain. Reformers should NEVER accept compromises that remove these 2 CRITICAL components of medical cannabis reform. Being able to get cannabis for $60 and eighth does NOT help the vast majority of patients, we can already get the herb for $400 an ounce.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on June 07, 2009 at 07:34:56 PT
Hey Toto, give that curtain a yank!
At one point back during the [Slick Willie, I didn't Inhale but I ate the he!! out of those brownies] Clinton [sometimes known as ol' Hoover Nose], administration, the Blackhawks around here were thick as flies! It was as if the Monsanto/DuPont Cabal had it's own army/police.I think that DuPont, Hearst CO. and the US Government, should be made to pay reparations to the citizens and families who have been harmed in this great catastrophic hoax called the War on Drugs. It has obviously been a profit protection plan for these entities and make work programs for thousands of cops and bureacrates.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on June 07, 2009 at 06:36:20 PT:
Even some of our own don't get it
The reason the California laws were written the way they were was to illustrate exactly how hopelessly foolish it is to prohibit cannabis. And by doing that, it also called into question the amount or taxpayer-funded resources expended in maintaining cannabis prohibition - like the aforementioned use of military hardware to detect cannabis grow ops.JP1 fuel ain't cheap, and it generally costs about a $1,000.00 pre-Crash dollars to run such a chopper for an hour. Multiply that by all the times they do that, every day throughout the country, for years, for decades, then divide that number by all the school lunches and unemployment insurance that that same amount could have bought, and you realize very quickly that something's seriously wrong here.Money, money, money. It needs to be hammered home, again and again and again, that the DrugWar is a fiscal black hole that benefits only the DrugWarriors and the cartels, and no one else. It sure doesn't help formerly employed taxpayers. A point that should be made to those struggling former taxpayers, that what was taken from them under duress has been squandered...and is still being wasted, when things are so bad economically.
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