Q: Where do you stand on the current New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, under which licensed "alternative-treatment centers" would produce the drug for residents with specific diseases?New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine says he'll sign the medical marijuana bill. A close race for Governor leads all three candidates to be supportive of medical marijuana but Governor Corzine seems to be most supportive. Republican Chris Christie hedges that he wants to see a stronger bill but in reality he really wants a watered down, weaker bill.
Corzine: "I’d sign that legislation. I want to make sure, as it goes through the Assembly, that it has the right constraints on it but I think we’re in the zone. I need to actually run through it with my counsel, all of the alternatives, but I think we’re close. I think we ought to move to this quickly. I think the people who would benefit from it, we would want to get to that sooner rather than later. I don’t think this, in any way, should be allowed to be a back-door access to recreational marijuana and we’ll make sure any bill that comes to my desk that gets my signature, we’re secure in that."
Christie: "I do think that we can do a little bit better on the restrictions. I do favor allowing folks who have serious illnesses — in a restricted number of illnesses — to have medical marijuana to alleviate suffering. I do want to make sure that we don’t have what’s gone on in California, where you have marijuana shops all over the place and people who are not really using it for serious illnesses. The current legislation, I think, is still a little bit weak on restrictions. I’d want to see it tightened up a little bit, but assuming that we could do that I would support it. I would take an active part in trying to make it the best bill we could so that I’d be able to sign it. It’s something that I would like to have be available to people who have significant pain and suffering issues connected with tragic illness."
Daggett: "I don’t know all the details of the bill. I generally support the use of marijuana for medical purposes as long as it can be done in a way that targets its use by the intended patient and has adequate safeguards against misuse or illegal use. I would be willing to consider being actively involved but I tend to also agree in the separation of various parts of the government. The Legislature will likely want to put its stamp on it in its own way and we need to let that process have its own course."
I contend we may see the same in MA with a tightly contested 2010 Governor's race. Governor Deval Patrick, if you want to win another term, you can't ignore this popular issue.