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    N.J. lawmakers approve bill legalizing medical marijuana

    I'D LIKE TO SEE HOW MANY DUMMIES WILL BE USING THIS EXCUSE WHEN THEY GET CAUGHT



    N.J. lawmakers approve bill legalizing medical marijuana

    By Trish G. Graber

    January 11, 2010, 7:16PM

    TRENTON -- New Jerseyans suffering from debilitating diseases would be able to get prescriptions for marijuana to ease their pain under a bill that passed both legislative houses today.
    The Assembly approved the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana" bill 48-14; the Senate passed it 25-13. Gov. Jon Corzine has said he would sign the bill into law before he leaves office Jan. 19.
    New Jersey state Assembly approved medical marijuana bill
    Amanda Brown/The Star-LedgerMichael Oliveri, of California (formerly of Oradell), waits for the New Jersey State Senate votes on the medical marijuana bill in the Statehouse in Trenton. Oliveri, who has muscular dystrophy, moved out of the state to California to legally use marijuana for treatment.

    The bill is expected to take effect in six months, making New Jersey the 14th state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. Sponsors declared it the toughest in the country. The law would forbid people from growing their own pot; license "alternate treatment centers" to dispense the drug and require designated caretakers who retrieve the drug on behalf of a severely ill person to undergo criminal background checks.
    "I don’t think we should make criminals out of our very sick and terminally ill. It does not make sense for many of New Jersey’s residents to suffer when there is a viable way to ease their pain," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the bill’s sponsors. "But this is a responsible bill with enough oversight to prevent the abuses that have been reported in other states.’’
    The bill passed the Senate without debate, but not without opposition.
    Assembly John Rooney (R-Bergen) urged his colleagues to allow incoming Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. attorney, to retool the measure.
    "There are other drugs. There are many ways to relieve pain,’’ Rooney said. "The U.S attorney is an expert in area of drug enforcement, Let him recommend controls. There are too many loopholes."
    The Senate recessed mid-session before returning to pass the bill. Audience members applauded and hugged.
    A handful of people who have risked prosecution to use marijuana rallied at the Statehouse earlier today.
    "I’m so excited to be able to be alive and to be here for this moment," said Diane Riportella, 53, of Egg Harbor Township.
    Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in September of 2007, Riportella said no medication eases her pain like marijuana.
    "Within a few seconds, I’m relaxed and I’m smiling and I go to Disneyland just for a few minutes and say it’s not so bad, I can live another day, " she said.
    Mike Oliveri, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, moved from Oradell to California in November 2008 to get access to legal marijuana. He said he inhales about a quarter pound of marijuana a month using a vaporizer, which eases the pain just slightly in his legs and his back and also calms his stomach.
    "I took every medication known to man before I took weed," said Oliveri, 25. "I knew it was a risk … but it was a life or death matter."

    The state Fraternal Order of Police were among the bill’s opponents on hand today, taking issue with recent changes that allowed patients to obtain up to 2 ounces a month instead of 1 ounce of the drug, and permit for-profit companies to dispense it. Those amendments made a bad bill "significantly worse," according to the police organization.
    The group predicted dispensing sites will become crime hubs where patients will be robbed.
    "It comes down to my officers being put at risk unnecessarily," said Steven J. Demofonte, the FOP’s legislative committee chairman.
    The bill (S119) specifies illnesses that would qualify a patient to get a marijuana prescription if traditional medicine does not help. Those include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), severe muscle spasms, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year. The legislation also allows the state Health Department to include other illnesses when it writes rules implementing the law.
    Gov.-elect Chris Christie said the provision allowing the Health Department to add other illnesses sounded like a "loophole.’’
    "As I said during the campaign, conceptually I support the idea of medical marijuana for seriously ill people for pain relief,’’ Christie told reporters today at a separate press conference in Trenton. "While the amendments that have been made are a step in the right direction, I would go further. I think we should have a defined list of diseases. We all know what they are, so why leave the loophole?’’
    Staff writer Josh Margolin contributed to this report.

    N.J. lawmakers approve bill legalizing medical marijuana | New Jersey Real-Time News - - NJ.com
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  2. #2
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    pgg
    pgg is offline Damnit, I'm hungry again.
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    Take a look at all the problems that CA has experienced because of it (I can't think of a single benefit) and you are now going to have the same crap.... welcome to the club
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