Marijuana Regulations Upset Some
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Marijuana Regulations Upset Some
Posted by CN Staff on October 18, 2010 at 06:59:48 PT
By Devin Sikorski, Associate News Editor
Source: Daily Targum
New Jersey -- As the state of New Jersey prepares to dispense medical marijuana, some members of the political sphere are unhappy with the regulations put on the drug. Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, is putting pressure on Gov. Chris Christie and his administration to repeal the regulations set for medical marijuana in the state.The regulations, drafted by the state's Department of Health and Senior Services, only provide four dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana to patients, which is not enough, he said.
"The clear intent and the clear language of the statute, as far as I'm concerned, is that there should be six. Not to the mention the fact that there are only two places that the substance will be grown," he said. "The overarching theme of the regulations is basically to tighten it so much that it is going to be difficult for people to take advantage of medicinal marijuana."Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the governor's office, said the DHSS drafted the regulations in compliance with the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, signed by former Gov. Jon S. Corzine before leaving office."The governor was going to charge his health commissioner with implementing regulations in a manner that is consistent with the law," he said. "This is to make sure that the folks that actually need the medical marijuana to deal with chronic pain and suffering have access to it and nobody beyond that."Donna Leusner, director of Communications for DHSS, said there are different requirements related to cultivation and dispensing, which the DHSS took into account when setting regulations."The goal is to build a program that provides access, education, service, security and patient safety," she said via e-mail correspondence. "Implementation of the medicinal marijuana program is expected to phase in gradually and we will evaluate and make decisions about future expansion as warranted."But Scutari believes the regulations must be repealed, saying it will just be harder for patients who need medical marijuana to obtain it."Anybody that has any common sense knows that it's not very hard to get illegal marijuana," he said. "But we're trying to allow people to go through a legal step to get a substance from the care of their physician to help their symptoms."Scutari is not the only person in New Jersey upset with the regulations put on medical marijuana.Frederic DiMaria, chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in New Jersey, said he could not understand how the regulations help patients by limiting the amount of dispensaries in the state."It makes no sense. What they're doing is limiting people's choices, limiting geographically where people can go and making it difficult for people with severe illness and in many cases fatal illnesses," he said. "They made it very difficult for medical marijuana patients. They took the compassion out of the Compassionate Use Act."In order to obtain medical marijuana, a patient must be approved by the DHSS and have a card before purchasing the drug, DiMaria said. This is why limiting the number of dispensaries does not seem logical.In order to receive medical marijuana, patients will need to have a medical marijuana card or analog, or have permission from the DHSS, he said."The medical marijuana patient needs authorization from the state," DiMaria said. "So you could make 100,000 dispensaries but it is not like common people can go in without being pre-approved as having a qualifying condition. In order to get medical marijuana, you need that."But the cap put on the number of dispensaries is just the start of many problems he and others have with the regulations for medical marijuana, Di Maria said."One huge area in particular that I have a large problem with is that they actually limited the [tetrahydrocannabinol] content," he said. "They made it so there are only three available strains and not one of those strains can have a THC content greater than 10 percent."THC is an active ingredient in marijuana that causes the effect felt, with the body absorbing the chemical within minutes after smoking, according to DiMaria said this would force patients to smoke more medical marijuana, which is not the intent of the law."For some reason, the DHSS, under the guidance of protecting patients, limited the strains of marijuana available to 10 percent makes no sense to anyone," he said. "You would clearly want to have marijuana with the highest THC available so you could ingest less of the drug to get the same effect."DiMaria said a person is able to purchase marijuana in the black market having a THC level of 18 percent. This could cause patients who need the drug to illegally seek it elsewhere."Essentially, what those regulations are going to do is force patients who want quality marijuana to go into the black market, instead of getting their medicine from approved sources," he said.The regulations the DHSS drafted are also manicured to increase the profit for big business, DiMaria said. This would block small business owners from partaking in the dispensing of medical marijuana."There is a $20,000 application fee to become an alternative treatment center in order to stash and grow marijuana. Why that is? I do not know," he said. "But they're clearly trying to make it difficult for small business owners."DiMaria added the regulations reflect how the current administration does not support medical marijuana in the state, saying they are essentially trying to re-legislate the act in order to minimize its effect."Our governor has stated specifically that he would not have signed the medical marijuana law had it come across his desk," he said. "So clearly he's not in support of it and clearly these regulations are an overt attempt by the administration to circumvent the law itself."The objective of the law is to focus on critically ill patients' needs, which is not the case with the regulations drafted by the DHSS, DiMaria said."Instead of putting patients first, the DHSS has instead focused squarely on pandering to the minority who would like to see medical marijuana abolished," he said. "The regulations that they put out are completely devoid of compassion and they obfuscate the intent and spirit of the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act."NORML NJ is set to have a peaceful demonstration today in front of the Statehouse in Trenton, according to a NORML NJ press release. Scutari added he is set to introduce legislation in an effort rid of the regulations put on medical marijuana."I am planning on dropping legislation in the form of a resolution which forces the governor to change the regulations," he said. "Otherwise, the legislature … for a simple majority vote might invalidate the regulations."Source: Daily Targum (Rutgers, NJ Edu)Author: Devin Sikorski, Associate News EditorPublished: Sunday, October 17, 2010Copyright: 2010 Daily TargumContact: oped dailytargum.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 18, 2010 at 17:50:18 PT
Gov. Christie, N.J. Sen. Scutari Spar Over MMJ
Gov. Christie, N.J. Sen. Scutari Spar Over Medical Marijuana RulesBy Susan K. Livio, Statehouse Bureau Monday, October 18, 2010Trenton -- A sponsor of the state’s medical marijuana law today introduced a resolution that would repeal what he called “restrictive” proposed rules for the program if Gov. Chris Christie does not make them resemble the original legislation.The action spurred angry words between Christie and Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), the sponsor.At issue is the decision by Christie’s administration to license just two growers to supply no more than four dispensaries from where the drug would be sold. Dispensary owners could apply and pay an additional fee to open one satellite location each, according to the proposed rules.But the law written by Scutari calls for six nonprofits — two in northern New Jersey, two in the central, and two in the south — to grow and sell pot to screened patients.URL:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 18, 2010 at 15:02:14 PT
Hemp is The Hidden Key To Legal Marijuana
October 18, 2010URL:
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