|Good going, Garden State!|
It’s finally happening: Medical marijuana is coming to New Jersey.
Both the state General Assembly and the Senate approved a medical marijuana bill Monday, reports pressofatlanticcity.com.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Jon Corzine, who has already said he’d sign it.
Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) said the bill is meant to benefit seriously ill people.
“For some New Jerseyans suffering from chronic and terminal diseases, medical marijuana represents a small glimmer of hope for relief from their symptoms,” Whelen said.
The bill disallows anyone under the influence of medical marijuana from operating a motor vehicle.
Monday afternoon, a group of patients suffering from various debilitating diseases convened at the statehouse and urged legislators to make legal medical marijuana a reality in New Jersey. Nearly a dozen medical cannabis supporters sang songs and told stories at a pro-legalization news conference.
Supporters are hoping that as many as 10,000 chronically ill patients will be able to get relief from doctor-recommended medical marijuana if the bill passes.
“It would legitimize marijuana as a medicine in a way other states haven’t,” said Chris Goldstein of the New Jersey Coalition for Medical Marijuana on the eve of the vote.
Goldstein said the bill calls for half a dozen non-profit dispensaries that would grow their own marijuana.
The bill passed by comfortable margins in both houses: 48-14 in the General Assembly and 25-13 in the State Senate, reports David Kocieniewski of The New York Times.
The move makes New Jersey one of the few states on the East Coast — along with Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island — which have legalized medical marijuana.
“This bill will help relieve peoples pain,” said State Senator William Baroni, a Republican.