Advocates Consider Suing Over NJ Medical Marijuana
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Advocates Consider Suing Over NJ Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 03, 2011 at 12:02:51 PT
By Beth DeFalco, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
New Jersey -- Advocates say they will consider suing the state if Gov. Chris Christie continues to stand in the way of implementing a law that legalizes marijuana for medical use. But they're not enthusiastic about that possibility."I would hope that would be a last option. A court case can drag on for years and our concern is patients having access now," said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Christie has not yet responded to a memo released Thursday by the U.S. Justice Department that says marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws.Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, says the governor is awaiting advice from Attorney General Paula Dow, who is still reviewing the letter. Christie has been especially concerned about whether state employees could be prosecuted for their role in regulating medical marijuana, and the first-term Republican governor recently said he wanted some assurances before moving forward."The federal government is saying medical marijuana is against the law. Until I get that assurance, I cannot ask people to do things that they might get prosecuted (for) by federal prosecutors," Christie said in June. "What happens if they get arrested and I ordered them to do it? That's wrong."But advocates and legal experts say Christie, who spent seven years as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, is well aware of the federal law and knows federal authorities would never give a blanket assurance that they won't prosecute a hypothetical case in the future."He knows better as a former U.S. Attorney," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who co-sponsored the bill. "He knows they are not going to pick on the strictest law in the country."In her letter to the Justice Department on behalf of the governor, Dow specifically asked whether state employees could be prosecuted.The Thursday memo by Deputy Attorney General James Cole reiterated what was in a 2009 memo, in which the Justice Department told prosecutors they should not focus investigative resources on patients and caregivers complying with state medical marijuana laws. The new memo does not give states cover from prosecution, but notes the broad discretion local U.S. Attorneys have in their states.Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, has not commented on the memos.But a person familiar with Fishman's thinking said it was extremely unlikely that he would prosecute state employees who are complying with the state's regulatory framework. The person spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the matter.Sam Kamin, a constitutional law professor at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, notes the latest memo focuses heavily on the size of the operation, going so far as to define a caregiver as "individuals providing care to individuals ... not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing" marijuana."If you are running a large-scale, for-profit operation  this is a scary memo," Kamin said, adding that the waters are more murky for smaller-scale operations.Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, with programs in various phases of development. New Jersey adopted a law to allow medical marijuana in January 2010, just before Christie took office.While Christie says he supports medical marijuana access for patients who need it, he's expressed problems with the law New Jersey passed, though it's considered the most restrictive among the states that allow medical marijuana.His administration upset activists because it took months to come up with regulations for the industry  and they're still not finalized. Lawmakers have even threatened to nullify Christie's proposed regulations, saying they violate the intent of the law.This year, six nonprofit groups were awarded licenses to grow and sell pot to patients with conditions such as terminal cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Some patients say the drug eases pain and nausea. But so far, none has been legally sold because the state has not created a registry of patients who can, under state law, use the drug.Some of the groups licensed to grow buds have said they realize they would be violating federal law and are willing to risk prosecution to launch their businesses. The organizations that are allowed to grow and sell marijuana to patients with certain medical conditions are not-for-profit but the size of the operations is unclear since they haven't been allowed to start dispensing the drug.State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, another sponsor, said that if he doesn't hear from the governor soon, he'll send Christie an official request asking him to take a position. But beyond that, a lawsuit may be the only remedy."All the deadlines have passed," Scutari said, "and the governor sent this letter looking for guidance so he wouldn't have to do anything."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Beth DeFalco, Associated PressPublished: July 3, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on July 05, 2011 at 10:16:31 PT
Oops -- afterburner #9
I posted the wrong link on the second off-topic article. Here is the correct link:Dan Froomkin froomkin
Is Torture In America's Future As Well As In Our Country's Past?
First Posted: 07/ 4/11 08:35 AM ET Updated: 07/ 4/11 09:58 AM ET
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 04, 2011 at 13:35:49 PT
I agree about why Neil wrote and recorded Let's Roll. Imagine has never been anti-God but anti-judgmentalism. If you believe and don't judge then you can walk above the bickering and divisions of this world. Then you can live in Peace.
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on July 04, 2011 at 12:12:51 PT
FoM #8
Yes, I read years ago that Neil wrote Let's Roll, as tribute to Todd Beamer. That's a good rendition of it.Todd Beamer
Todd Morgan Beamer (November 24, 1968  September 11, 2001) was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 who is recognized as a hero for his actions in the September 11 attacks.[1][2] Beamer also recited The Lord's Prayer with [GTE supervisor Lisa] Jefferson. According to Jefferson, Beamer's last audible words were "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."[3]
}Neil Young singing Imagine. I've always loved John Lennon's singing of that song, and Neil does a great job on it too. Unlike some ministers, my faith is not threatened by Imagine. I don't see it as anti-religion, only anti-fighting-over-religion.2 Off-topic reflections on the future of the American Dream:David Bromwich.
Professor of Literature at Yale.
To Maintain a Republic.
Posted: 07/ 3/11 05:15 PM ET Froomkin froomkin
Is Torture In America's Future As Well As In Our Country's Past?
First Posted: 07/ 4/11 08:35 AM ET Updated: 07/ 4/11 09:58 AM ET
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 04, 2011 at 11:01:36 PT
One More Song
Neil Young singing Imagine
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 04, 2011 at 10:43:25 PT
It's amazing how we just seemed to forget who did that terrible thing to our country. I believe in justice. Here's a song that Neil wrote about 9/11.Let's Roll:
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on July 04, 2011 at 10:23:05 PT
FoM  - Thank you too!
My son and daughter were both excited and thankful that justice was finally done after 10 years of stressful waiting.David Bowie - Heroes   Concert For New York City:
Nice one!Here's what I heard live and free last night:Big Sugar (They have re-formed and are touring with a new album.)Oh Canada - Big Sugar,
 at It's Your Festival, Hamilton, Ontario
(The audio is a little crackly: the iPhone was a little too close to the speakers.) were having such fun and so was the audience.This one shows their amazing reggae bass better:Big Sugar - Turn The Lights On (calgary)
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 04, 2011 at 10:03:17 PT
Thank you for the songs. You made Stick and I think of this song from the concert for Heroes in NYC. This year it will be 10 years since 9/11 happened. We no longer have to feel that justice wasn't served. Thank you Obama but mostly those amazing Navy Seals! David Bowie - Heroes   Concert For New York City
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on July 04, 2011 at 09:02:06 PT
The Heart of America
The Heart of America is still strong in the Heartland.Give thanks for the dreams of the founding fathers for taxation *with* representation.YouTube - America! The Beautiful - Willie Nelson, Neil Young‏ thanks for the traditional farmers who grew/grow our food.WE THE PEOPLE will brook no tyranny at home or abroad.Happy Independence Day.Happy Birthday, America. Long may you run.YouTube - Neil Young, Long May You Run, Farm Aid 2009, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.O say, does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?Happy Independence Day, everyone!
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Comment #3 posted by ripit on July 04, 2011 at 08:57:37 PT
happy 4th to all of you
hope you all have a great day.i luv the 4th! it's always been my fav holiday (musy be the pyro in me!)heres hoping u all get to burn sumthing pretty today!!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 04, 2011 at 08:07:21 PT
Happy 4th of July to you and everyone.
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on July 04, 2011 at 07:12:56 PT
happy independence day 
a big thank you to everyone that has ever worked or wanted to end 
the Fed Prohibition of Cannabis
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