A proposed New Jersey law would allow medical marijuana patients in New Jersey to purchase meds in other medical marijuana states and travel back to New Jersey with their meds.
While it has good intentions, it seems the authors are missing a few key components: namely that New Jersey law only extends to the border of New Jersey and they can’t compel other medical marijuana states to follow New Jersey law.
According to NJ.com, the idea comes from Meghan and Brian Wilson, parents of Vivian Wilson who became the poster child for a bill last session that eased access to medical cannabis for minors. The Wilsons say that the bill was also supposed to increase patient access to high-CBD strains but that it hasn’t done it yet. The state’s two dispensaries don’t carry edibles yet, nor does the state lab have the capabilities to test the potency.
“It’s a little disheartening,” Megan Wilson told NJ.com. “They need to figure it out soon so the state gets something in place and everyone has access.”
So the Wilsons say they want a legal way to travel to Colorado to purchase the meds then bring them home and they’ve got the help of Assemblywoman Linda Stender, who introduced a bill that would create a reciprocity agreement between New Jersey and the 20 other states (plus D.C.) that allow for medical cannabis.
All of that is a great idea, but it seems largely unnecessary. Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey are already allowed to travel to other medical cannabis states that allow for reciprocity of medical marijuana licenses. Some states, like Arizona and Connecticut, do allow for out-of-state MMJ patients to possesses and use cannabis while in that state.
Not only that, but the Transportation Security Administration has said numerous times that medical marijuana patients are allowed through security in states where cannabis and medical cannabis are legal so long as they are following local laws. By that reasoning, New Jersey medical marijuana patients can already travel to a medical marijuana state that allows reciprocity, purchase the cannabis, then travel back to New Jersey with it. True: it is a legal gray area since transporting cannabis across state lines is a federal crime, but the proposed New Jersey bill wouldn’t change that either.
The other issue with the bill is that it isn’t going to do what the Wilson’s hope it will do, at least not right away. Most medical marijuana states (including Colorado) do not allow it and no change to New Jersey law would affect that. Unfortunately, Colorado is being touted as the main destination for some of these patients. In order for that to happen, Colorado would have to allow for sales to out-of-state medical marijuana patients.
But all of that might not even matter in the long run. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has already said he would oppose the measure and sees it as another attempt to back-door full legalization in his state.
“See this is what happens. Every time you sign one expansion, then the advocates will come back and ask for another one,” Christie told reporters yesterday. “Here’s what the advocates want: they want legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. It will not happen on my watch, ever. I am done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances. So we’re done.”
So, despite the fact that the bill wouldn’t really change much, we support it for the sole reason that the bill could cause Christie to blow a gasket.
Stender surmises that Christie hasn’t even read the bill. As usual, he’s towing the knee-jerk reaction to cannabis that he’s always had.
“It’s not about marijuana legalization for recreational use, this is about legitimate access for sick people who need it,” she told NJ.com. “It infuriates me he is so cold-hearted to the needs of the people he is supposed to represent.”