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Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Jersey Senator Challenges Governor Over Medical Marijuana Law

Senator Nicholas Scutari
By Ron Crumpton

     TRENTON, New Jersey – Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) plans to repeal the rules introduced the by the Christie administration because it would make it too difficult to obtain for those who need it.

      The plan signed into law, by former, Gov. Jon Corzine called for six dispensaries that would grow and sell the marijuana, but the plan announced by New Jersey Health and Senior Services would cut that to four dispensaries, and two grow sites.

This is “unacceptable,” said Sen. Scutari.

On Monday, Scutari said that he would introduce legislation that would require the governor to withdraw or amend those regulations. If this does not provoke Christie to action, the senator says that he will introduce a resolution that would outright repeal the regulation.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
When asked about the delay that might be caused by the legislation Scutari said, "I am concerned about the delay, but it's becoming more and more clear they don't want this to happen.”

He is not alone. Many of the patients and advocates in the area believe that the Christie administration is setting the program up to fail.

There are other problems advocates have with the regulations:

First, the rules limit the marijuana to 10% or less THC. This is half the strength of the marijuana used as medicine in other states.

Second, there are so many restrictions associated with purchasing it that many think the dispensary program is useless.

Third, with only two grow operations, one federal raid or a bad crop and there will not be enough marijuana in the state to meet the needs of patients.

Finally, the state requires a twenty thousand dollar application fee ($18,000 returned if the application is refused) and requires that the dispensaries have $1 million in insurance for delivery drivers and requires two delivery persons per vehicle per delivery.

Sen. Scutari, patients and advocates say this is unacceptable; the rules are so bad many patients may continue to purchase their medicine on the street.

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