Press Release  | 07/19/2011

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Announces that He Will Move Forward with the State's Medical Marijuana Program

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Advocates Applaud Governor's Decision and Say Other States Should Follow New Jersey's Example

Patients and Families Express Gratitude to the Governor and Hope that the Program will Soon Allow them Access to Medical Marijuana

Trenton—Governor Chris Christie announced today at a State House press conference that New Jersey will move forward with the state's medical marijuana program. Advocates and medical marijuana patients and their families expressed joy and gratitude at the governor's announcement. The Governor stated last month that he had concerns about moving forward with the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in light of some questions about federal law and state medical marijuana programs. But, a memo from the federal Department of Justice, released June 30th, seems to have provided a level of assurance to state officials.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole's memo made no mention of prosecution of state employees and explicitly defined who was at risk—large scale commercial operations contemplating cultivation of tens of thousands of plants and having projected revenue of millions of dollars.

Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of Drug Policy Alliance, the organization that spearheaded the effort to pass the legislation, applauded Governor Christie for moving forward with the program. "We are absolutely thrilled that the governor has decided to move forward with the program and we hope that officials in other states who are contemplating options for their programs will follow New Jersey's lead.7/1"

Several states, including Delaware, Rhode Island, and Arizona, had been rethinking their programs in light of federal legal concerns.  "Governor Christie's thoughtful analysis regarding state medical marijuana programs shows that states can and should move forward with well-regulated and responsible programs," said Scotti.

Seriously ill patients who are desperately awaiting access to medical marijuana in New Jersey expressed joy and relief at the governor's announcement.

Elise Segal, who suffers from multiple sclerosis said, "I am extremely pleased that the governor decided to move forward with the program.  I have nothing but feelings of gratitude toward him and his administration.  I hope the program can get up and running now as soon as possible, so that people like me who are suffering will soon have relief."

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

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