Medical Marijuana Advocates Not Happy with Christie's Alternative Plan | NBC New York

Medical Marijuana Advocates Not Happy with Christie's Alternative Plan



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    Various types of marijuana on display.

    Even before New Jersey's new medical marijuana law goes into effect, ideas are floating around the state capitol on how to change it.

    One report on Monday said Governor Chris Christie's administration is considering allowing only the state's teaching hospitals to distribute it -- and Rutgers University would be the only place where it could legally be grown.

    There's just one problem according to Chris Goldstein, an advocate with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

    "Risk," he wrote to NBCNewYork.

    "New Jersey hospitals and Rutgers University have not fully examined their federal liabilities," explained Goldstein.

    He added that the teaching hospitals and Rutgers would be subject to the same federal law that individuals who market medical marijuana face, and hope is never enforced (the Obama Administration, through Attorney General Eric Holder, has said it will not enforce its marijuana possession laws where individual states allow small amounts for consumption).

    Referring to sellers of medical marijuana in the 13 states (before New Jersey) that allow it to be sold, Goldstein wrote "Any one of several authorities could seize their properties and assets at any given moment."

    And Goldstein doubts the teaching hospitals and Rutgers would want to take that risk.

    "The owners and employees of medical cannabis businesses also take on the risk of personally losing their freedom through federal arrest," he added.

    Mike Drewniak, Press Secretary to Governor Chris Christie, had no comment on the report, and no reaction to the concerns of medical marijuana advocates.

    "The proposal to monopolize NJ's medical marijuana program to provide a funding source for training new doctors in the state represents a betrayal of the very patients that the law was designed to protect and serve," said Ken Wolski, executive director of The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

    Under the law passed in January and amended earlier this month, the state has until October 1st to write the rules and regulations that will allow patients to sign up for medical marijuana, and Alternative Treatment Centers to get up and running to sell it.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @Brian4NY