Medical Pot User Beats Rap in NJ Thanks to Lack of Rules - NBC New York

Medical Pot User Beats Rap in NJ Thanks to Lack of Rules

Judge dismisses case as Governor Christie and Legislators argue



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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Various types of marijuana are on display at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    New Jersey's struggle to come up with rules to guide its medical marijuana law that was passed a little more than a year ago may have kept Tewksbury man out of jail, or at least saved him a stiff fine.

    David Barnes, 50, was arrested a year ago in Readington Township for possession of a small amount of pot as well as drug paraphernalia.

    But last week in Municipal Court, the two charges against him were dismissed because he uses the marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    "It was something we worked with the court and the prosecutor," Barnes' attorney Allan Marain told NBC New York.

    Barnes suffers from a condition he says his doctors call cyclic vomiting syndrome.

    "For no apparent reason, I'll start throwing up," Barnes explained and then added "It's not uncommon for me to lose 10 percent of my body weight after a single episode."

    He said he has seen more than 50 doctors over the years and added "I've tried every medicine."

    He has testified in Trenton in favor of the medical marijuana law passed just over a year ago by the Legislature.

    But the dispute between Governor Christie and Legislators over the rules to run the program have left users like Barnes in limbo, still unable to legally buy marijuana.

    While the Governor has gone on record supporting medical marijuana, he has also expressed strong concern that the program not end up like the one in California.

    Nonetheless, as the two sides argue over what kind of limits should be defined by the rules, Barnes' attorney released a statement criticizing Governor Christie for turning "a deaf ear to the sick and the dying while hypocritically continuing to mouth his support.

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