New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Medical Marijuana Update: Pending Legislation Faces Uphill Battle

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

On December 12, 2013, the New Jersey State Assembly committee voted to give flexibility to New Jersey’s registered medical marijuana patients by allowing them to buy the drug in another state and use it here.
The bill (A-4537) received a brief hearing before it sailed through the Assembly Health Committee at the Statehouse by a vote of 7-4. But its long-term prospects may be in doubt. Gov. Chris Christie has stated he is “done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances” when asked what would happen if the bill reached his desk.
The bill would allow patients enrolled in the state’s program to possess medical marijuana legally obtained from another state program. Patients registered with another state program also be allowed to use their medicine here, according to the bill. New Jersey patients would have to buy a form of marijuana that conforms to the state’s parameters, and would not be allowed to exceed the dose recommended by their doctor.
The idea for the bill came from a Union County couple, who waged a public battle to loosen the restrictions of the state program for kids on behalf of their young child who was diagnosed with a serious form of drug-resistant epilepsy. The couple hoped they could buy a rare strain of marijuana in New Jersey that is produced in edible form by a Colorado grower that has shown to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures in other children, but does not produce a “high” feeling.
The two operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the state are not producing edible products yet. Assemblywoman Linder Stender (D-Union), the bill’s sponsor, said people should not have to leave the state to get what is a legal medicine.
“Our medical marijuana program is not functioning the way it should be and approved participants have not been able to get the medicine they need,” said Stender (D-Union). “In no way will this bill expand any of the requirements for participation.”
“Instead,” she added. “It will allow people who have been approved into the program within the existing limitations to access the strains that they need in the event of a lack of availability within our own program.”
There are 1,500 registered patients in New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program. Three dispensaries are operating: Greenleaf Compassion Center, Montclair, which opened a year ago this month; Compassionate Care Foundation of Egg Harbor Township, which opened in October, and Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, which debuted last week.
The best way to insure that you do not lose your right to medical marijuana is to make sure that you strictly adhere to the requirements if the program. Keep your card in your possession when you transport the marijuana from dispensary to your home. Do not drive while under the influence of marijuana. Make sure that you keep all marijuana away from children.
If you have a pending criminal charge relating to your medical marijuana prescription, call Schwartz & Posnock for a consultation at any of our convenient offices in Monmouth County (Eatontown), Middlesex County (East Brunswick), and Essex County (Livingston), to discuss how we can assist you in obtaining a positive result in your case.

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