New Jersey Assembly and Senate Approve Medical Marijuana
The “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Bill” passed the New Jersey Assembly, 48-14, and the State Senate 25-13. Outgoing Governor Jon Corzine says he’ll sign the bill before he leaves office January 19.
The bill is expected to take effect in six months, making New Jersey the 14th state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. Sponsors declared it the toughest in the country. The law would forbid people from growing their own pot; license “alternate treatment centers” to dispense the drug and require designated caretakers who retrieve the drug on behalf of a severely ill person to undergo criminal background checks.
“I don’t think we should make criminals out of our very sick and terminally ill. It does not make sense for many of New Jersey’s residents to suffer when there is a viable way to ease their pain,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the bill’s sponsors. “But this is a responsible bill with enough oversight to prevent the abuses that have been reported in other states.’’
Incoming Governor Chris Christie is against the measure, as are many Republican legislators, but it eases pain for many residents who, contrary to what its detractors claim, have little other recourse.
The bill (S119) specifies illnesses that would qualify a patient to get a marijuana prescription if traditional medicine does not help. Those include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), severe muscle spasms, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year. The legislation also allows the state Health Department to include other illnesses when it writes rules implementing the law.
|New Jersey state Assembly approved medical marijuana bill|
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