One week before New Jersey’s gubernatorial election, local news sources are reporting that New Jersey has been ordered to review marijuana’s Schedule I classification. While the state technically has a medical marijuana program in place, the rigid guidelines and regulations severely restrict access to the medicine.
In an effort to combat this and improve the lives of the New Jersey residents who depend on medical weed, an appeals court is going head-to-head with the current governor, Chris Christie.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law
On his last day in office, former governor Jon Corzine left a gift for his fellow New Jerseyites. On that day in 2010, he signed a bill passing legal medical marijuana. While passing the law was a step in the right direction, it had some downsides. Mainly, the short list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana access. Another downside? Chris Christie replaced Corzine.
Christie doesn’t hold back on his opinions about cannabis. Even though the majority of his opinions are not factually based. At all.
Among the typical erroneous rhetoric, like equating weed to destructive drugs like heroin, Christie posited the wild conspiracy theory that marijuana reform is a Democratic plot designed to destroy the American youth.
Nevertheless, he himself, after much pressure, made a small reform in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. He passed laws allowing children access to medical cannabis and also added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions.
Although New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Review Panel approved five new qualifying conditions last week, it’s not enough to truly make a difference. Access is still not top-tier, and cannabis still holds a criminal status.
And so, New Jersey was ordered to review marijuana’s Schedule I classification by a state appeals court. The primary reason? Because of the numerous medical benefits and potential the plant holds.
The Gubernatorial Election
New Jersey is due for a new administration. And soon, they will get it.
On November 7, residents will cast their ballots for a new governor. Their choices are Republican Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy. While both candidates are in favor of cannabis law reform in their state, they have one major difference.
Guadagno wants to decriminalize weed and expand the medical marijuana program. Murphy, on the other hand, is in favor of straight-up legalization.
This morning, Murphy made a vocal appearance on NPR. During the segment, the host encouraged New Jersey voters to call in to ask the gubernatorial candidate questions. One such caller asked him to clarify his position on cannabis legalization versus that of his opponent.
Murphy explained that decriminalization as Guadagno proposed, contrary to its name, would keep weed in the hands of criminals.
“It’s the Wild West,” he said of decriminalization. “Minors will be exposed. We’ll have no control. We need to regulate it and get it out of the hands of the bad guys.”
Additionally, Murphy proposed that the law treat cannabis like alcohol. Legalize it, regulate it and tax it.
“We’re trying to learn the lessons—the good and bad—from other states that have done it,” he continued.
Murphy went on to talk briefly about the racism involved in marijuana arrests.
Final Hit: New Jersey Ordered To Review Marijuana’s Schedule I Classification
There are currently 15,490 medical marijuana patients living in New Jersey. Given the strict guidelines and restrictive list of qualifying conditions, it’s safe to say that there are many more patients who would benefit from medicinal weed. Denying sick people access to life-improving medicine is unconscionable. An appeal is definitely overdue.