Medical marijuana is very effective when it comes to relieving patients of pain and suffering from debilitating diseases. Medical marijuana on the Federal level, must adopt reasonable standards, before any state can become 100 percent legal. California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996. The State legislators left it up to local municipalities on determining how patients can obtain, cultivate, grow or distribute medical marijuana. Many class action law suites are still pending, on behalf of doctors, patients, distributors, growers and cultivators, to prevent the Federal Government, from interfering with California state and local laws. Medical marijuana should be legal in New Jersey. However when medical marijuana becomes legal in New Jersey, can the patients who need it, get it without federal interference.
New Jersey’s current law for possession of 50 grams or less is a misdemeanor and carries a possible six-month prison term and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Over 50 grams is a felony and carries a possible prison term of 18 months and/or $25,000.00 fine. Possession within 1000 feet of schools increases the punishment and fine, in addition, the judge will impose a mandatory loss of driver’s license following any conviction related to marijuana. The production and distribution of marijuana penalties are even more severe.
The problem California and other states experienced when they updated their marijuana laws is that law enforcement has a difficult job when it comes to separating the distribution of legal marijuana vs. the illegal marijuana. Drug dealers try to blend in; and Federal agencies such as the DEA and the FBI do not separate their law enforcement efforts, Arizona passed the law in favor of medical marijuana in 1997, but the legislators left it up to the FDA to approve marijuana first before allowing state physicians to prescribe it. In 1998, the voters rejected a referendum by a vote of 57% to 43%. On May 22, 2003, Governor Robert L Ehrlich of Maryland signed into law effective October 1, 2003, allowing defendants on trial for the use or possession of marijuana, to introduce evidence of medical necessity and physician approval, to be considered by the court as a litigating factor. Most recently in the 2008 election, Michigan passed a referendum permitting the use of medical marijuana.
Canada, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel and Finland, all require a prescription for the use of medical marijuana. The United States federal government currently does not recognize any legitimate use for medical marijuana.
New Jersey legislators should begin to focus on updating their current laws, pertaining to the use of medical marijuana. It is not fair to patients, who experienced first hand the benefits and relief, they feel after using medical marijuana, that reduce nausea, vomiting, headaches and other dangerous side effects they feel after chemotherapy and other torturous treatments. On the other hand, should they continue to rely on reports that state, patients have other medications they can use, that do not work as well as medical marijuana. The argument, that a dying or very sick person cannot use medical marijuana, because of the health risk, is ridiculous. Many people would argue that decriminalizing marijuana, for any use would make the drug safer by leaving out the chemicals and other additives that cause health risks associated with marijuana use.