New Jersey's "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" was signed into law back in January, but cannot take effect until the Department of Health and Senior Services actually draws up the rules and regulations that will run the program.
And Governor Chris Christie's recent request to the Legislature for a six month to one year delay is not going over well with patients and advocates who helped shape the bill.
"We expect the law to be followed we expect the time line to be followed," said advocate Chris Goldstein, of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey.
The original time line would have the proposed rules drawn up by August 1st, and patients lighting up by this Fall.
But that's not enough time for the Christie Administration.
"We are now going to become a distributor of a controlled substance," said Christie's Press Secretary Mike Drewniak in explaining why the Governor, who supports the law, wants more time.
Coalition members hold diverse opinions, but we all agree:
Arresting patients is wrong, and it must stop now.
Modern clinical research, centuries of experience and the impassioned personal accounts of thousands of real patients concur: Marijuana can alleviate symptoms of certain serious medical conditions, and it can do so when other drugs fail to help.
Doctors should be free to recommend this medicine to promote health, and sick or injured New Jerseyans should be free to use it responsibly.
The safety margin for therapeutic marijuana is as wide as it can be ─there is no known lethal dose.
New Jersey healthcare professionals dispense potentially lethal drugs every day. We trust them to do so very carefully, and solely to benefit their patients. Common sense and compassion demand that doctors should control non-lethal marijuana medicine for those who truly need it. To make this important change a reality, your voice is needed.
The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was introduced in the State Senate in January 2005 by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden). A companion bill is pending in the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) and Assemblyman Michael Carroll (R-Morris Township).