As the scandals around Chris Christie continue to pile up, it made me revisit the story of how Christie handled – well, mishandled – the implementation of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time, but it was certainly a reason that drug law reformers were some of Christie’s loudest detractors in the 2013 campaign for governor.
The aspirations of New Jersey’s first medical marijuana businesses range from modest to potentially massive, but marijuana advocates say the state’s startup dispensaries have stronger ties to traditional medicine than most — and an unusual number of politically connected people involved in them.
Christie inherited the law from his predecessor, Jon Corzine, but has done just about everything possible to keep it from being implemented in a way that might actually help people – well, not counting well-connected people hoping to make money.
Fast forward to this month:
A state appeals court today ruled the state Health Department must produce a report within 45 days that explains how New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has been implemented, the status of dispensaries that have not yet opened, and whether there are enough growers to meet patient demand.
The decision, however, is only a partial win for the patients and physician who sued the Christie administration in 2012 for intentionally delaying the program. The plaintiffs wanted the court to nullify the health department’s choice of three nonprofits that have yet to have their plans for dispensaries approved nearly three years later.
Yesterday, Jay R. Lassiter in PolitickerNJ also called out Christie for this horrible track record:
Now that the entire universe knows about Chris Christie’s insatiable appetite for recriminations, it’s a good time to reexamine the scandal-plagued Governor’s role in destroying NJ’s medical marijuana law. Why? Because the five-year-old program — signed into law shortly before Christie took office — has been a case study in big-government incompetence.
Yes, worth taking a much longer look.