Letter revives fear of U.S. prosecution over medical marijuana

A letter written by U.S. attorneys in Washington State is creating some new concerns over New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

The letter, written after consultation with Attorney General Eric Holder, says growing and possessing marijuana are violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act regardless of state laws that permit it.

David Evans of the Drug Free Schools Coalition said that could put New Jersey’s medical marijuana plan in jeopardy.

“If it gets off the ground, it very well could wind up with some people getting federal charges against them,” Evans said. “They are engaging in selling something as medicine that really isn’t.”

But Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, one of the main sponsors of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, said he believes the federal government is just putting states on notice to have strict controls on medical marijuana distribution.

“I think that New Jersey’s very tight regulations in place now meet all the federal requirements,” Gusciora said.

And Ken Wolski, the executive director of the New Jersey Coalition for Medical Marijuana, also said he doesn’t believe the letter jeopardizes the state’s program.

“The Supreme Court of the United State has acknowledged that states have the right to define the practice of medicine within each state, and that’s exactly what New Jersey is doing with the compassionate use of medical marijuana act,” he said,

The state Health Department has not yet finalized the rules for New Jersey’s program that is expected to begin sometime this summer.

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