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Marijuana Reform in Limbo as Governor Waits for DOJ Assurance that State Workers Will Not Be Criminally Charged

July 27, 2011 | Posted In Recent News - Criminal Law

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to wait for the Department of Justice to confirm that state workers will not be criminally charged with violating federal drug laws before marijuana reform laws are implemented.  The Department of Justice released a memo on June 30, which said that licensed medical marijuana growers would likely be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws in those states that have medical marijuana laws. 

The Governor is now waiting for assurances that these laws would not apply to state employees in New Jersey who implement the medical marijuana laws.  These employees will be responsible for licensing and inspection of marijuana dispensaries.  They would also be responsible for registration of patients, doctors and caregivers. New Jersey’s medical marijuana laws were signed into law by ex-Gov. Jon Corzine as part of the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act.

According to Deputy US Atty. Gen. James Cole, the DOJ would likely not prosecute medical marijuana users or caregivers.  He said the federal drug laws would be more likely to focus on large-scale marijuana operations.  However, Gov. Christie wants an assurance that state employees would not be prosecuted before the state can go ahead with the implementation of the marijuana laws.   The June 30 memo by the Department of Justice offers no assurance that state employees will not be charged under federal drug laws. 

Back in 2009, the Obama administration also said that prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries was not on the cards as far as federal law enforcement is concerned.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman  represent persons charged with DUI, drug crimes, sex crimes, assault, fraud and other crimes across New Jersey.

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