New Jersey’s hard-fought medical marijuana program was supposed to be up and running next month. July 18. But Gov. Christie has made clear that this particular law signed by Jon Corzine is not a priority for his administration, so he’s wanted a 6-month to 1-year delay.”
If legislation just introduced is passed, Christie’ll get his delay. But not nearly the delay he wanted. Asm Reed Gusciora, a sponsor of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, has a bill calling for October 1 implementation, now out of committee and headed to a vote by the full Assembly, most likely Monday. I’d have trouble blaming Reed Gusciora for this delay, or Nick Scutari. Their efforts seem in good faith, grappling with a disinterested, heel-dragging governor who hasn’t done his due diligence.
Clearly, the administration has not done the work they needed to launch on time. In fact, less than a week ago he threw a monkeywrench – proposing to amend the law to require that all the pot be grown at Rutgers University. A centralized production and distribution scheme that would make New Jersey’s law – already the most restrictive of 14 states with compassionate use programs – even more restrictive. As a side complaint, one that would eliminate entrepreneurial opportunities for farmers or other small business folks ready to grow.
NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – is against it, pointing to a long, unsuccessful fight by the University of Massachusetts to grow marijuana for medical research purposes.
I’m not sick. I don’t know what it’s like to feel the kind of pain and unease those with cancer feel. Or AIDS. Lou Gehrig’s disease. Muscular dystrophy. Multiple sclerosis. No clue.
But if Christie gets his breathing room and fails to make sure this program is launched and implemented fairly, without extra strain on unwell people … Well, then my guess is the roly-poly voodoo dolls are going to come out. And so are the long pins. Chris Christie needs to feel the pain other people he serves feel every day. Somehow I think his powers of imagination are limited.
Get it done. They’ve waited long enough.