New Jersey Moves Ahead With Medical Marijuana Program

Despite a recent memo from the federal government which indicated that state medical marijuana dispensaries could face prosecution, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he will allow the implementation of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, which was signed into law a year and a half ago as former Gov. Jon Corzine was leaving office.  But the program was immediately put on hold, and as recently as a month ago, Christie was reluctant to allow the program, which is one of the strictest in the nation, to go forward. Now, however, he says that he is confident that federal prosecutors will have more important crimes to pursue.

“We were left with very little instruction at the end about how to implement this law,” Christie said. “I have been struggling, as has my administration, to find a way to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish, which is to provide compassionate treatment to people who are suffering in a way that wouldn’t expose them, the operators of our dispensaries or the employees of the state of New Jersey to criminal liability.”

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program would permit six approved dispensaries to open, serving patients with debilitating conditions like multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or terminal cancer.  It is clearly intended to restrict marijuana access only to extremely sick or dying patients, to aid with pain and nausea.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Patients are limited to a 2-ounce supply every 30 days, and the active ingredient, THC is limited to a maximum of 10%. So far, 92 physicians from 19 counties have registered to participate in the program.”

Marijuana policy advocates heralded this as a step forward for the legalization of marijuana as a legitimate medication.  In a statement, the Marijuana Policy Project’s Morgan Fox commented, “It is very heartening to see state leaders moving ahead with permitting and regulating the medical marijuana industry so that patients will not be forced to purchase their medicine from the illicit market. So far, the Department of Justice has been fairly decent about respecting state law with regard to dispensaries as long as those states have clear regulations for the industry.”

This program is especially noteworthy because Christie is a notoriously conservative governor, but his pragmatic stance on marijuana access as an issue of compassion for the terminally ill raises the possibility that other states might follow suit, even in the face of tightening federal oversight.  Could Rhode Island be next?

Related Stories:

U.S. Government Declares Marijuana Has No Medical Value

Justice Department Could Crack Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Global War on Drugs Has Failed, Leaders Say

Photo from GoodnightLondon via flickr.


Peggy B
Peggy B23 days ago


Raya B.
Raya B6 years ago


Raya B.
Raya B6 years ago


janet T.
janet t6 years ago

Please, please, approve medical marijuana nationally. I have someone I care for that might benefit. Why should she have constant pain, anxiety, coping problems when she could have a few bites of a marijuana brownie and live a better life. She is handicapped and will not be driving a car, owning a gun or operating heavy machinery. She listens to music and smiles and receives hugs as her main activity of the day. And I doubt if she will become addicted or turn to selling to support her 'habit'.

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

I think it's a good thing if it really goes to those who really are sick and in need of pain/nausea relief.

Maria P.
Maria P6 years ago

Marijuana is not a harmless drug. Long term use causes permanent memory loss and it also causes mental illness such as anxiety and depression. It can also bring on schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. I used to have a friend who became delusional whenever he got stoned but was addicted to smoking. Some people become so paranoid that they can't leave the house. Paranoia is a side effect of marijuana. Decriminalise for small amounts for personal use, so people don't get criminal records. When enough people are stoned, the government will be able to trample on what little rights you have left and nobody will bother to complain.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees6 years ago

The tides are finally turning. Legalize, tax, and regulate all forms of Hemp. Legalizing Marijuana will put a huge dent in the drug cartels money supply as it's estimated to be roughly half their income.

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone6 years ago

If every single state passed Medical Marijuana or better yet legalized it, then the rich pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol distributors would not be able to control our politicians no matter how much monies they keep stuffing into their pocket. Every single politician who votes against legalizing Marijuana is completely corrupt and needs to be replace with ones who do actually care about what the voters, the people want instead of the rich and big corporations want. People wake up and take back control before you don't have any voice left to change things. Who does NOT see this country is no longer a democracy we have become Corporatism/Fascism country.

Carolyn C.
Carolyn C6 years ago

Medical marijuana has been a good choice for dealing with my DH's constant, debilitating pain. I am so very glad that (for a couple of hours a day) he can find respite that doesn't make him non-functional or give him horrible side effects like the medicine he was taking previously. I would hate to have medical marijuana withheld from anyone suffering as he has.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

A Green Star to Joseph B.