By "Radical" Russ Belville
(CMMNJ) Today the New Jersey state Senate passed resolution ACR 151/SCR 130 by a vote of 22 to 16.
The entire legislature has now agreed that Governor Christie’s proposed rules are outside the intent of the law. The Assembly passed the resolution on November 22nd.
As we noted on the NORML Front Page today, these regulations that were just defeated included:
A) requiring qualifying patients to establish that their diagnosed condition has proven resistant to all other conventional therapies;
Or as I call it, the “medicine of last resort” restriction. Some of these “conventional” therapies are medicines with such harsh side effects that you’re asking patients to undergo unnecessary suffering in order to prove they deserve the least-harmful, healthiest choice of medicine.
B) restricting the varieties of marijuana available to patients to three strains, and capping the plant’s THC content at ten percent;
Better known as the “street dealer subsidy” restriction. With a limit of two ounces per patient and the inability to grow their own, patients will need the most potent cannabis they can get. Less than 10% THC wouldn’t even be considered “medical” by most dispensary standards. Three strains severely limits patients’ ability to find the right THC:CBD ratio and other plant constituents that can cause great variance in the success of the treatment. If so limited, patients will just visit the underground dealers who will supply potent cannabis.
C) prohibiting the dissemination of any edible medical cannabis product;
I call this the “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” restriction. Smoking is the least healthy way to ingest cannabis and many patients on fixed incomes can’t afford the healthy alternative of vaporization.
Plus there are folks who need to use cannabis in places and situations where smoking isn’t acceptable. For them, a brownie, cookie, or tincture prepared with cannabis is the only way to relieve suffering.
D) mandating that doctors who authorize their patients to use marijuana must “make reasonable efforts” at least every three months to wean them off the drug;
This is the “marijuana rehab” restriction that doesn’t seem to be applied to most of the truly addictive drugs that come in pill form. It is a direct corollary of “medicine of last resort” – we have to be sure we get them off of that nasty marijuana and back onto pills as soon as possible!
E) capping the number of state-licensed medical cannabis producers to no more than two;
Finally the “If 6 Was 4 And 2″* restriction. This is the subject of Gov. Christie’s compromise – the law called for six “alternative treatment centers” that everyone figured meant “dispensaries” that would grow their own medicine, since patients aren’t allowed to. No, offered the Guv, that means four dispensaries and two places to grow medicine. I’m not sure how you write a law where six of something can be defined as four of one thing and two of another, but that’s how the governor saw it. When legislators and activists complained about everything in A, B, C, D, and E, Christie offered the “compromise” of letting E go back to being the six dispensaries everyone already thought they were when they passed the law. Some compromise!
Kudos to the New Jersey legislature for beating back Gov. Christie’s reefer madness. It’s a shame patients in the No Garden State have to wait as they start to build new regulations from square one again… a shame that rests solely on Gov. Christie’s broad shoulders.
*Forgive me, Jimi!