New Jersey Legislature Authorizes Medical Use Of Marijuana

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Trenton, NJ: Lawmakers in the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation this week that seeks to make New Jersey the fourteenth state in the nation to allow for the state-authorized use of medical cannabis by qualified patients. The measure, known as the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, now awaits action from outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine – who has pledged to sign the measure into law early next week.

The Act authorizes patients with a physician's recommendation to possess and obtain medical cannabis from state-authorized "alternative treatment centers." Patients diagnosed with the following conditions are eligible to use medical cannabis under the Act: cancer, glaucoma, seizure and/or spasticity disorders (including epilepsy), Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn's disease), any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year, and/or any other medical condition or treatment that is approved by the state health department.

Unlike the medical marijuana laws that have been enacted in thirteen other states, authorized patients in New Jersey will not be eligible to legally grow their own cannabis.

Said NORML New Jersey Executive Director Chris Goldstein: "Patients have been waiting since 2005 for medical marijuana legislation. Yes it passed with some major compromises, such as the removal of home cultivation. But this bill also looks forward to the future of medical cannabis by regulating the most comprehensive single-site marijuana production facilities outside the federal government's marijuana greenhouse at the University of Mississippi."

He concluded: "While much more restrictive than other states, this measure also strengthens the legal legitimacy of marijuana as a medicine. We are confident that registered patients in New Jersey will have safe and affordable access to locally produced, medical grade cannabis by the end of 2010."

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act will take effect six-months after the Governor signs the bill into law.

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