NJ Medical Pot Advocates Await Their Day In Court [AUDIO]
Medical marijuana proponents are waging a legal battle trying to force New Jersey to make the drug more accessible to more people.
Briefs in the case are due in mid-May. Oral arguments could be heard as early as June. The plaintiffs hope the verdict is delivered some time before November's elections.
There is still only one Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) in New Jersey where eligible patients can legally get medical marijuana. The court case could change that.
"If we win the court would mandate the immediate approval of the five remaining locations," explains medical marijuana patient and activist Jay Lassiter. "Most of all it would toss out the most onerous regulations and force them (NJ Department of Health officials) back to the drawing board to re-write them with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey acting as a monitor which is great, but it would've been better if we would have had this sorted out three years ago and we could be focused on other things like my astronomically high property taxes."
Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie said the slow progress of the medical marijuana program in the Garden State is not a crisis despite the fact that hundreds of people are waiting to obtain the drug from the state's only ATC.
While not referring specifically to the court case, a State Department of Health spokesperson has said that Christie has taken a responsible approach to administering medical marijuana for qualified New Jersey residents.
Following the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary, the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget proposal doubles funding for the program with an increase of $823,000 for a total of $1.6 million.