This Monday, February 23, the senate passed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in a vote 22-16 with two abstentions. This bill is supposed to aid patients with debilitating diseases (e.g. cancer, glaucoma, AIDS) and other disorders that cause “wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, seizures and severe and persistent muscle spasms.” Patients with a special ID (acquired thru a doctor’s recommendation and approval by the Department of Health and Senior Services) could have up to six plants or one ounce of marijuana. Also, the state would license “compassion centers” that grow and distribute plants. If the bill passes in the Assembly and is then signed by the governor, New Jersey will be the 14th state to create a sanctioned medical marijuana program. The Assembly version of the bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora, (D-Mercer), Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris) and Joan Voss (D-Hudson), will likely face opposition from groups like the Drug Free School Coalition. But, considering that Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana in November, New Jersey is likely to be the next state to follow suit. NJ governor Jon Corzine said he would "absolutely" sign the bill.
February 27, 2009
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