The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:
The State of New Jersey is violating federal law by enacting a comprehensive regulation scheme surrounding medical marijuana, instead of just exempting patients and providers from state-level criminal liability.
Upon payment of a substantial application fee, and subsequent approval the state provides permits to a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries (known as Alternative Treatment Centers). The state chooses which dispensaries are allowed and which are not, and collects fees as a condition of continued operation.
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.).
In states where medical marijuana is unregulated, providers and patients still must comply with state law or face penalties.
New Jersey must change the law to allow unregulated medical marijuana co-ops and collectives instead of the current “Alternative Treatment Center” model, which puts the state in violation of federal law.