Pushing to get legal marijuana planted in the Garden State

    The rules that would govern New Jersey’s medical marijuana program are getting mixed reviews.Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Princeton Democrat, worked with the Christie administration on the draft regulations published Thursday.Gusciora said the rules could broaden the possibilities of who can grow and sell medical marijuana in the state.

    “I think half a loaf is better than none. Let’s get the program started and, with time and study, we can always revise the regs further to everyone’s satisfaction,” he said.Chris Goldstein, a spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, said Gov. Chris Christie’s draft rules are half-baked and could have a chilling effect on patients waiting for relief.One proposed rule requires prescribing doctors to have an addictions counseling certification and to sign up for a state registry.”That would be a barrier to the physicians I’ve spoken to, and they also question whether it’s needed at all,” Goldstein said.Another rule sets a cap on the potency of the cannabis that can be provided to patients.

    “It would be detrimental to patients to offer them low-potency medication. We don’t give people half a dose of chemotherapy. We don’t give people half a dose of ibuprofen. We give people the potency that works,” Goldstein said.

    Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat from Linden, said doctors should determine the strength of the medicine for patients. He and other medical marijuana supporters say the Christie regulations stray too far from the intent of the law which was adopted a year ago.

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    A Senate health committee hearing on the issue is set for Thursday. That meeting could jump-start a plan to force the Christie administration to restart the rule-writing process. 

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