Thursday, April 21, 2011

NJ AG Dow wrong to seek federal advice on medical marijuana

WHO: Attorney General Paula Dow
WHAT: Asked federal officials their plans to punish New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program participants
WHEN: April 19, 2011
WHERE: Trenton, NJ
WHY: The federal government insists marijuana has no accepted medical uses in the U.S.

Attorney General Paula Dow sent letters to federal officials on April 19th asking them if they intend to punish anyone associated with New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program. The attorney general even suggested ways that New Jerseyans might be punished—“civil suit or criminal prosecution,” the letters said.

A more appropriate approach would have been for the attorney general to tell the federal officials that if they dare to interfere with New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, she will sue them and fight them all the way to the Supreme Court, where she will win. The U.S. Supreme Court has already acknowledged (in the Garden Grove decision) that states have the right to determine the proper practice of medicine within each state. In the Garden Grove case the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s decision that said: "Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act to combat recreational drug abuse and curb drug trafficking. Its goal was not to regulate the practice of medicine, a task that falls within the traditional powers of the states.”

Ken Wolski, executive director of CMMNJ said, “There can be no doubt that every aspect of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program concerns access to physician-recommended medicine by desperately ill patients. The 110 pages of regulations promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services to enact the Medicinal Marijuana Program is a monument to overly-cautious bureaucratic detail. No one could possibly confuse it with drug abuse and drug trafficking. The attorney general should instead be insisting that the federal government reschedule marijuana from its absurd Schedule I status.”

Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical uses in the U.S. New Jersey—along with 14 other states and the District of Columbia—acknowledged medical uses for marijuana through legislation. Another dozen states are considering similar legislation. “It is the federal government that is wrong in this, not New Jersey. State officials should not look to the feds for guidance on medical marijuana,” Wolski added.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618

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