Chris Christie’s Claim That He ‘Supported And Implemented’ New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Laws

NEW JERSEY:  In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. … I’m not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I’m against the recreational use of marijuana.”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), the second GOP debate, Sept. 16, 2015

Several claims from the second Republican presidential debate stood out to our readers as fishy, such as this one. We fact-checked 18 other claims, including some by Christie, right after that debate, with a deeper looks at statements by Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. How accurate is this claim?

The Facts

Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act into law Jan. 10, 2010 — his last day as governor. That left Christie with the responsibility of carrying out the law, which was expected to take effect over six months.

The law made it legal for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions (including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and any terminal illness where the patient was not expected to live more than a year). It gave the state health department authority to write regulations for the medical marijuana program.

When campaigning for governor, Christie said he supported medical marijuana in a limited scope for certain patients. But he criticized the law for not being tough enough, and said he wanted to see it “tightened up a little bit.”

Access To Medical Cannabis In Washington Is Changing

WASHINGTON:  I started this blog because I wanted to share the challenges and triumphs of using medicinal cannabis. Back then I didn’t know many other cannabis users never mind ones who knew how to use it medicinally. Through books and the internet I taught myself how to cook with it and started eating it for my health issues.

Once I got my medical cannabis recommendation my first access to it was at a chosen dispensary 30 minutes from my house. I would really only buy cannabis flower there because the only other thing they had were edibles ‘poisoned’ with gluten, dairy, and sugar not to mention a little expensive for somebody taking multiple doses each day. From there I would take my flowers and make my own cooking oils and edibles.

These days my access looks much different. I was eventually able to join a collective garden where I not only have access to quality, organic flower but fresh leaves for juicing, and solventless concentrates. While there, I am able to learn how to grow my own garden and ways to process my own plants. This type of insight has been invaluable as a patient who, in the perfect world, would like to eventually grow all my own strain specific garden.

Elizabeth Warren Urges Feds To Support Research On Medical Marijuana’s Benefits

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The federal government has a “responsibility” to facilitate sensible research into marijuana’s medical benefits, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other senators urged in a letter issued last week to multiple federal drug and health officials.

“While the federal government has emphasized research on the potential harms associated with the use of marijuana, there is still very limited research on the potential health benefits of marijuana — despite the fact that millions of Americans are now eligible by state law to use the drug for medical purposes,” the letter reads.

The senators praised the White House’s recent lift of what was a mandatory bureaucratic review process, long criticized by researchers and lawmakers alike, that had stifled scientific research into the plant. But, they also encouraged the federal drug and health agencies to do more.

 

Bills Would Change Michigan Marijuana Rules

MICHIGAN:  Confusion surrounding the legality of marijuana dispensaries and nonsmokable forms of the drug are prompting lawmakers to propose changes related to Michigan’s voter-approved law that legalized marijuana for medical use.

Bipartisan legislation introduced Thursday would allow for “provisioning centers,” businesses where patients with a state-issued medical marijuana card could buy surplus marijuana that suppliers produce for other patients.

Advocates say the bill is needed because the state Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that qualified patients and caregivers cannot transfer marijuana to another patient or anyone else, and dispensaries that facilitate such transactions can be shut down as a public nuisance. Some municipalities have let the dispensaries continue to operate while others have not.

The legislation, which supporters say would give patients safe access to marijuana, needs regular majority support from the Republican-controlled Legislature to go to the governor’s desk because it would not directly amend the 2008 marijuana law.

Judge Blocks Medical Marijuana Restrictions In Montana

MONTANA: A state district judge late Friday permanently blocked enforcement of key provisions of Montana’s strict 2011 medical marijuana law in a drawn-out legal case that began shortly after its passage.

District Judge James Reynolds of Helena permanently enjoined the implementation of certain key provisions in the law.

The provisions have never taken effect, either because of his 2011 decision temporarily blocking implementation of the law or the state stipulating it would not enforce the provisions pending a final court decision.

In his latest decision, Reynolds permanently blocked enforcement of provisions that would:

  • Ban the advertising of medical marijuana.
  • Forbid the commercial sale, for profit, of medical marijuana from a provider to someone authorized to obtain the product. The provision essentially meant that medical marijuana cardholders had to grow their own pot and forbade any payment to growers except for covering the cost of a provider’s application or renewal fee paid to the state.
  • Restrict a medical marijuana provider from assisting more than three people licensed by the state to obtain legal pot or marijuana-infused products, again without them being able to be paid.
  • Require the state to provide the Board of Medical Examiners with the names of any physician who within a 12-month period has written certification for medical marijuana for 25 or more patients. That would have triggered an automatic review of the physician’s practices, at his expense, by the Board of Medical Examiners.

Medical Marijuana, Out Of Joint

NEW YORK:  On Friday, New York became the 23rd state to pass a bill creating legal access to medical marijuana for patients with certain serious, debilitating conditions. Without question, this is a huge victory for New York patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other conditions who have been waiting many years for relief.

Still, the law leaves unchanged the unconscionable status quo in which tens of thousands of New Yorkers, most of them black and Latino, are put through the criminal justice system for mere possession of small amounts of marijuana.

And even within the context of medical marijuana, the legislation is the result of political compromises with the governor that were needed to gain final passage. Those compromises include serious limitations that will leave many patients behind and complicate implementation. It becomes clear that politics, not science, drove the final agreement.

For instance, the bill represents an extraordinary level of intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship by narrowly defining the list of conditions for which physicians can recommend marijuana for medical use.

 

 

Public Hearing Shows Overwhelming Support For Reform Of D.C.’s Medical Marijuana Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  At a joint committee hearing of the D.C. Council today, several public witnesses testified in favor of two new bills they believe would greatly improve the city’s medical marijuana laws.

The Committee on Health, chaired by Councilmember Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), and the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, chaired by Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), held a joint public hearing to let the public weigh in on the proposed amendments. The first bill proposes an amendment that would allow any medical marijuana cultivation center to possess up to 500 living marijuana plants at any given time. Currently, cultivation centers are only allowed to grow 95 plants. A second bill would expand the list of qualifying conditions able to receive a medical marijuana recommendation to “allow physicians to determine whether a patient would benefit from medical marijuana treatment.”

Under D.C.’s current medical marijuana laws, only patients suffering from HIV or AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, or severe muscle spasms are eligible to receive recommendations. Under the new amendment, which was introduced by Alexander and Councilmember David Gross (I-At Large), there would be no restrictions as to what conditions are eligible for a medical marijuana recommendation, instead leaving it to a doctor’s judgement to determine if that’s the best course of treatment.