The state Senate Monday voted 27 to 5 in favor of legislation that gives the Christie administration an additional 90 days — until Oct. 1 — to implement New Jersey medical marijuana bill, or as it is officially known, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
Proponents had hoped to see the law go into effect Thursday, the beginning of the state government's 2010-11 fiscal year, but Christie asked for the delay in order to prepare health and law enforcement officials for the new service.
Sen. Nicholas P.Scutari (D-union) sponsored the initial bill.
"While I believe this program should have been ready for implementation as originally scheduled, I agreed to grant the administration additional time out of respect for a genuine effort on their part to ensure it's done right.,'' he said. "This was not an easy decision, as thousands of sick and dying residents are in desperate need of the relief provided by the medicinal use of marijuana. Further, this law was signed in January, giving the administration six months to sort out questions concerning growth and distribution.
"While the governor's office requested up to a year delay, another 90 days is a reasonable compromise,'' Scutari said. "But let me be clear, I expect the administration to move expeditiously to complete its work by the new deadline. Too many people suffering with severe and debilitating illnesses, some of them terminal, have already waited too long."
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM