Drug Law

New Jersey's Crazy Medical Marijuana Proposals

| by NORML
By "Radical" Russ Belville"

New Jersey – the No Garden State – is already America’s most restrictive medical marijuana state for not allowing patients to grow their own medicine. The carefully crafted medical law won’t allow for patients with chronic pain to use cannabis and most patients will have to be virtually on their deathbed to get medical marijuana.

But now, Republican Gov. Christie, who despises the law, and his allies in the Assembly are working to draft regulations for the fledgling program that would make the operation of the program nearly impossible and ineffective for most patients.

(NBC New York) Sen. Scutari is taking particular exception to how the rules deal with the six combination manufacturing and distribution Alternative Treatment Centers that the law calls for (two in North Jersey, two in Central Jersey and two in South Jersey).

Instead, Scutari said he was told two of the centers will be just for growing the marijuana, while the sale of the product will be allowed only in the other four.

Scutari is also worried about proposed restrictions on potency and ingestibility, noting “We wrote the most stringent, conservative law in the country.”

“I hope these rules are not so stringent that they strangle it,” Scutari said, adding “That’s my fear right now.”

Here are some of the regulations being proposed for New Jersey’s program:

-- Qualifying conditions: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease, terminal illness (<12 months to live), positive status for AIDS, HIV or cancer.
-- You may also qualify if other treatments don’t work for seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; or glaucoma.
-- The registration fee for patients is $200 and will be valid for two years.
-- Your doctor must have seen you for a year and documented four visits for the debilitating condition and must see the patient for follow-up visits.  Because poor folks can easily afford a $200 reg fee + four doctor visits in a year.
-- You can only have a maximum of two ounces in any 30 day period.
-- You may not share or give away your medicinal marijuana, even to another patient.
-- Marijuana should be available in July 2011 (sorry for you folks with terminal diseases and <12 months to live…)
-- Caregivers can only take care of one patient and can not have any possession convictions in their past, as determined by a mandatory criminal background check and fingerprinting.
-- Only four dispensaries in the whole state, supplied only by two dispensary-growers for the whole state, and you can only shop at the one you designate.
-- Your medical marijuana card will have your name, photo, and home address on it.  Let’s hope you don’t lose your wallet and some marijuana-stealing home invaders don’t find it.
-- A dispensary license costs $20,000, and $2,000 of that is non-refundable if your application is turned down.
-- No eating or drinking at a dispensary (WTF?)
-- Drug testing for dispensary employees.
-- Marijuana available at dispensaries shall have a THC level not to exceed 10 percent.
-- An dispensary shall cultivate no more than three strains of medical marijuana.
-- Dispensary marijuana cannot be packaged in larger amounts that one quarter ounce.
-- Dispensaries have to keep log books of the patients’ self-reported pain every three months.
-- Dispensaries can only keep on hand two ounces per patient registered for that dispensary… and must destroy any excess!
-- Dispensaries must keep $1,000,000 worth on insurance on any delivery vehicles.
-- A dispensary delivery cannot be made on the same day the patient orders the medicine.
-- Dispensaries must tell patients not to engage in “extraneous conversations” with the delivery personnel.  (Again, WTF?)
-- Dispensaries ads must only be black text on white background, no illuminated signs, no t-shirts or other promo items.
-- Patients cannot get their medical marijuana delivered if they live within a “Drug Free School Zone” (usually 1,000 feet from a school, or as most of us call it, “anywhere in a city”.

That’s most of the ridiculous proposals in the 97 pages of draft regulations.  This is clearly designed to prevent the medical marijuana program from working at all… just like Gov. Christie wants it.