Dear Editor,

In the pivotal 1969 Supreme Court case, Leary v. United States, the court ruled that the Marihuana Tax Act was unconstitutional because it required self-incrimination in order for someone to comply. In response to this, Congress passed the current Controlled Substances Act.

Yet in 2015, New Jersey medical marijuana patients and providers are forced to incriminate themselves federally in order to comply with the State of New Jersey’s draconian medical marijuana system, in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The federal government still views state legal medical marijuana as federally unlawful.

Patients are forced to give up detailed personal biographical and medical information simply to use medical cannabis in this state. Providers are forced to provide even more information and all transactions are logged. Who knows if tomorrow the federal DEA will subpoena these records?

In California, state patient registration is voluntary and patient identification cards are issued with strict privacy safeguards. Patients without state cards may still use a Doctor’s Recommendation to possess, grow and purchase medical marijuana.

New Jersey should protect it’s patients by removing mandatory registration and tracking requirements. All data should be anonymized or destroyed. A verifiable Doctor’s Recommendation from a licensed physician should suffice for legal protection.

While New Jersey may lawfully remove criminal penalties at the state level for medical marijuana, it has legally gone too far by licensing and regulating dispensaries.

A law which “authorizes [individuals] to engage in conduct that the federal Act forbids . . . ‘stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress’ ”and is therefore preempted. (Michigan Canners and Freezers Association, Inc. v. Agricultural Marketing and Bargaining Board (1984) 467 U.S. 461, 478.)

Eric Hafner
Toms River