Criminal Mischief

Christie Approves Medical Marijuana

In a stark departure from his previous promise to veto any such legislation, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law earlier this month a bill which would allow medical marijuana to be used in schools and facilities that service people with developmental disabilities, in instances of patients who qualify for use of medical marijuanathe drug in the first place.

Provided in the bill are stipulations which will allow school districts to create policies regarding medical marijuana use, free them from liabilities and allow parents to administer the marijuana to the students in a specified location. The products in question would not be smoked, and in the catalyst case of a Maple Shade teenager, will be applied through a homemade mixture of cannabis oil.

The teen, Genny Barbour, has severe epilepsy and autism, and will now be authorized to take five doses of medical marijuana each day. Her family has been suing for her right to use the cannabis oil in her Bellmawr school. The case was represented by her father, Rodger Barbour, who is also a lawyer. They previously turned down a settlement offered by the Maple Shade School district, as the offer would not allow for her to take all the required dosages of the oil.

Christie’s support of the medical marijuana bill does not necessarily signal any change in his long-held beliefs that recreational cannabis is a gateway drug and should not be legalized in New Jersey. He said in March that legalizing recreational marijuana is a “slippery slope” towards legalized heroin, cocaine, and other destructive and hard drugs. This is important considering a soon-approaching public hearing for and against the use of recreational weed later this month, held by NJ lawmakers to hear both sides of the argument. State democrats are pushing bills to expand the legal use of marijuana, including one bill co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari.

Among the arguments for the policy change includes the hefty bill that NJ taxpayers will foot for the enforcement of marijuana-related crimes and the racial disparities of many drug-related arrests. In a 2010 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, findings were reported that African Americans in NJ were 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for the possession of marijuana than Caucasians, although they are using the substance at nearly identical rates. If NJ does vote to legalize marijuana for adults, we will be joining the ranks of Alaska, Oregon, Washington DC, Colorado, and Washington, all of which have legalized the drug in the past several years.

If you are in need of an experienced attorney for a marijuana-related offense, I can represent you best through the court proceedings and preliminary processes. For a free phone consultation and more information on how I can make my experience work for you, give me a call today at (833) 732-7320. At The Law Offices of Leon Matchin, LLC, I can be counted on to provide you with the best representation in court and during your interactions with law enforcement.

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