Calls for Lifting Three-Strain Cultivation Limit, Allowing Edible Consumption for Children and Giving Parents Choice
Trenton, NJ – Acting with the belief that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children, Governor Chris Christie today acted to ease access for sick children to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. The Governor acted to lift the three-strain cultivation limit on authorized growers and to make the treatment available to children in edible form. His actions will provide qualifying minors a wider variety of treatment options under the state’s program and empower parents to make choices based on their own reflections, study and physical consultation to provide their children appropriate treatment consistent with their age and medical needs.
“As I have repeatedly noted, I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children,” said Governor Christie in his conditional approval of the bill. “Protection of our children remains my utmost concern, and my heart goes out to those children and their families who are suffering with serious illnesses. Today, I am making commonsense recommendations to this legislation to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards. I am calling on the Legislature to reconvene quickly and address these issues so that children in need can get the treatment they need.”
Governor Christie added that medical review and doctor sign-off before entering the program should be maintained. Media reports have mischaracterized the current requirements and regulations: while a qualifying minor must be approved by both a pediatrician and a psychiatrist, no additional approvals are required if either one of those physicians is registered with the program. This approach is endorsed by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Governor believes it should remain in place.
While the Governor believes that children should have access to edible forms of medical marijuana, he made modifications to the bill to ensure that these forms will only be available to qualifying patients who are minors.
Monmouth County Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon is making statewide waves and generating statewide headlines in his quest to prove that red light cameras are not safety devices, but revenue generating ripoffs.
O’Scanlon makes a compelling case, backed up with engineering, that yellow lights should be timed for actual speeds that motorists are driving, rather than by the posted speed limits. He convinced MMM that’s he’s right on the issue, and that might be the subject of a future post. Read one of these articles if you want to bone up on that issue now. What prompted my call to O’Scanlon was politics, not policy.
There are no red light cameras in O’Scanlon’s legislative district, the 13th in Northern Monmouth County.
As the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, O’Scanlon has one of the highest, if not the highest, statewide profile of his fellow Republicans in the Assembly.
The last time O’Scanlon made statewide headlines on a issue not related to the budget he was speaking out in favor of medical marijuana and against towns that were using zoning laws to keep happy medicine dispensaries and farms outside of their boundaries. MMM’s unscientific poll indicated that his position on 420 could cause a 180 among his supporters in the 13th.
I wondered if O’Scanlon might have political ambitions that, in addition to his commitment to doing the right thing, are motivating his activities outside of his district.
“charged with ‘manufacturing’ 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his Multiple Sclerosis. Wilson faced 20 years in state prison for this crime. At trial, Superior Court Judge Robert Reed would not let the jury hear the reason that Wilson grew the marijuana plants, essentially removing Wilson’s only defense.“
Senator Raymond Lesniak, who was a chief proponent of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, had this appeal to Gov. Chris Christie:
“I am disappointed by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to deny the appeal of John Ray Wilson. He was merely trying to alleviate the symptoms of a dreadfully painful and regressive disease. It is unconscionable that this Friday he will be behind bars. Three years ago, I called on Gov. Corzine to commute the sentence of Mr. Wilson. After inaction with the last governor, I was hopeful Gov. Christie would better understand the unfair reality of this situation. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been just like Corzine, refusing to use his and only his power to make things right when the true intentions of the law were misapplied. (Ironically) before John Ray Wilson completes his prison sentence, the State of NJ will have its medical marijuana program up and running, and Mr. Wilson may likely be using medical marijuana behind bars or the prescription pain killers he couldn’t afford, paid for by the state’s taxpayers. Governor Christie should commute his sentence immediately.”
Chris Goldstein from the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in NJ wonders,”how many more seriously ill residents are we going to send to prison? We call on Governor Chris Christie to demonstrate his compassion for qualifying medical marijuana patients and his commitment to a new stance on non-violent drug offenders by issuing a pardon for John Ray Wilson.”
“These facilities will provide no more of a threat to communities than a CVS, I would have no problem with one being located near my home.” ~ Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon
Saying, “It’s the right thing to do,” Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon told MMM that he will introduce legislation that will prevent municipalities from from using zoning ordinances to thwart state approved medical marijuana farms and dispensaries from being located within their boundaries.
“Communities fears about medical marijuana facilities are not justified by the facts,” said O’Scanlon, ” as a result, many patients are continuing to suffer needlessly. It’s time for that nonsense to stop.”
O’Scanlon’s bill will empower municipalities to approve the facilities safety plan, including a requirement of 27/7 manned security.
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, said she will introduce legislation that will make it illegal to grow and harvest medical marijuana on preserved farmland. On Thursday, the State Agriculture Department Committee (SADC) released a statement indicating medical marijuana is considered an agricultural crop and could be grown on a preserved farm after the issue was raised by residents of Upper Freehold Township.
SADC’s stated position on the matter is not considered to be an action by the committee, which could be vetoed by Governor Christie.
“As I have previously stated, the implications of the medical marijuana law will be far-reaching, and the statement issued by the SADC on Thursday is a prime example,” said Angelini. “The federal government says marijuana is illegal while we have a state statute that would permit its growth on protected farmland. A community that has focused on preserving open space should not have their efforts countermanded. We are experiencing many twists and turns as to how this law will be executed.
“I believe Upper Freehold Township has raised an important public policy question that is a by-product of the new law,” continued Angelini, who serves as executive director of a nonprofit agency that provides substance abuse prevention programs to youth in Monmouth County. “This legislation will ensure that a municipality’s goal to preserve and protect open space can be achieved and maintained and that we continue to make every effort to control how medical marijuana is manufactured.”