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N.J. medical marijuana gets passed another obstacle

medicalmarijuana011110_optBY BOB HOLT

A key state senator says he now supports the idea of having the state's supply of medical marijuana initially grown by Rutgers University.

A NorthJersey.com report says that Democrat Nicholas Scutari is now working with the administration of Gov. Chris Christie to modify a law to put the system in place.

In January, lawmakers approved making New Jersey the 14th state to allow medical marijuana.

Under the law, nonprofit alternative treatment centers would grow and distribute the pot in limited quantities to registered patients who have specific conditions such as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and AIDS.

Scutari initially had reservations about the plan to have Rutgers grow the medicinal pot and the state's teaching hospitals distribute it to qualified patients.

"This is not a bad way to go to get it moving quickly," Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden said in a report on NBCNewYork.com. Scutari is the main sponsor of the state's current medical marijuana law. He said he would not want the Rutgers' agricultural experiment station to have a permanent monopoly in growing legal medical cannabis.

Scutari said there could soon be a deal on the plan that would allow the administration to work on implementing the unprecedented system even before lawmakers vote on it. A vote could come in September.

Meanwhile, Robert Goodman, dean of the agriculture experiment station, said they do not want to become a producer of marijuana.

While the station develops crops, it sells only tomato seeds — and on a small scale. But it frequently licenses its breeds to be produced by commercial growers.

"To become the producer of the crop, that would be a completely new role for us," Goodman told the Associated Press. "In any crop, we would have reservations."

Regulations were to be in place by October. But lawmakers granted Christie, who supports the idea of medical marijuana, an extra three months to iron out the details on cultivation and distribution.

But detractors say using the university and hospitals would bring complications. It could delay getting suffering patients the relief they need as lawmakers reopen discussions about how the program would work. They also argue that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, creating added headaches for public institutions.

Chris Goldstein, a spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, says employees could be at risk of arrest and hospitals and the university could lose federal funding.

The federal government wouldn't necessarily crack down, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton, who is his chamber's main sponsor of medical marijuana legislation, told the Asbury Park Press. He said Rutgers and the hospitals could be protected by a pledge from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not to break up medical marijuana operations that are authorized by state governments.

Comments (5)
5 Thursday, 26 August 2010 20:23
Rich C.
Why are we still waiting, the more we wait, the sicker people become, don't you think Gov. Christie, after having 9 months to start the medicinal aspect of this law, would have had in place, a place to grow the medicine, unbelievable!!
I cannot Believe this hipocrecey, Rich C.
4 Thursday, 15 July 2010 10:42
Sunflower Pipes
Making medical marijuana legal is a good step but it should not end there. There are terrible problems caused in this country everyday as a result of marijuana prohibition. There is a major drug war in Mexico killings thousands of people a year that is half funded through illegal marijuana trade. With all of the lives that are being destroyed and money spent can the government honestly point to the drug war as a success?
3 Wednesday, 14 July 2010 21:04
Let's be pragmatic and go for the "lesser evil," if you need to use a word like "evil." NO ONE HAS EVER DIED FROM OVERDOSE ON POT. We need to stop the criminalizing of it IMMEDIATELY. It is overwhelmingly apparent that the law does far more harm than the drug itself...and many credible scientists agree that cannabis is a very small risk, if any, while also showing numerous medical and relaxation benefits.


20 years from now we may be putting 5-10 million people in jail (at least fines and labeling them as criminals for their lifelong resumes) for simple possession. Currently we incarcerate nearly ONE MILLION of our own people who commit a victim-less crime. It must stop.

Why do Californians plead for prop 19 b/c it will be a budget bailout? Everyone should plead for it because we, the United States, spend a fraction (a hefty one) of a 40-50 billion dollar grant on Drug Enforcement to fight a war (which grows larger every year) on the ideal that the government should be in control of what you put in your body because you (US citizens) can't be trusted to make good decisions for yourself...aka there must then therefor be a "reservoir of Americans who, as soon as legalization occurred, would rush to ruin their lives.

Police, one created to serve and protect, break down doors, shoot hundreds of house dogs (true statement), and incarcerate their fellow otherwise taxpaying loyal Americans for the nonviolent and non-lethal ingesting of a plant known to be used extensively for thousands of years by people all over the world...and idolized for its beneficial effects.
2 Wednesday, 14 July 2010 19:17
Jose Melendez
Don't just blog. Free Marc Emery:

Federal law falsely claims pot has "no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment" in the United States.

But the US Department of Health and Human Services was assigned US Patent No. 6630507, entitled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" in 2003.

Got reparations?

DHHS should remove raw cannabis from scheduling, it's healthy food regardless of THC content and belongs untaxed as such. Artificial and manufactured cannabinoids may be appropriately listed in Schedule V.

Write or call:
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Department of Justice 202-514-2000


Attorney General 202-353-1555

1 Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:24
The title:

N.J. medical marijuana gets passed another obstacle

should be:

N.J. medical marijuana gets past another obstacle

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