Singer Asks Chiesa ‘Is NJ Next’?

TRENTON, NJ - In light of last week’s federal medical marijuana dispensary conviction in California, New Jersey Senator Robert Singer (R-30) sent today a letter asking state Attorney General Chiesa to report any potential impact on the Garden State’s medical marijuana enterprises, particularly for-profit facilities.

“As a proponent of this state’s medical marijuana law, I want to make sure the law works to provide this medicine to victims of chronic illnesses,” Singer said. “The California business in question was of a large scale and suspected of being driven by profits.

Last week, California resident Aaron Sandusky was convicted of operating a medical marijuana dispensary in violation of federal law that conflicts with laws in states including California and New Jersey, which legalize medical marijuana dispensaries. Sandusky faces 10 years to life in prison.

New Jersey statute authorizes two treatment centers in each of three regions in the State. Those first 6 centers that gain approval must be operated as non-profits. However, any subsequent centers could be for-profits. Senator Singer is seeking clarity from the state Attorney General to assure growers, operators and program administrators are not in conflict with federal law.

“Federal Department of Justice raids are continuing in medical marijuana states and carry profound consequences,” Singer said. “President Obama has proven he is serious about breaking his initial promise to respect state medical marijuana laws. Does this mean New Jersey must stop implementing our medical marijuana program?”

In his 2008 campaign, President Obama vowed he would not “use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana.” He has been called out by reporters for retracting that pledge. Since October 2009, Americans for Safe Access found that the Justice Department has conducted more than 170 dispensary raids, indicting 61 people in 9 medical marijuana states, according to the Huffington Post.

“Ironically, some Democrats have baselessly criticized the Christie Administration for allegedly delaying medical marijuana implementation in New Jersey, when the President is thwarting states from providing this medicine to those with chronic illnesses,” the Senator continued. “As Gov. Christie has said, we must assure that New Jersey’s medical marijuana enterprises are narrowly focused on operating for medical purposes only.”