New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: Medical Marijuana Reforms Shouldn’t Be Tied to Outcome of Full Legalization

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon said legislation fixing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program shouldn’t be tied to the fate of a separate effort to legalize the adult use of recreation marijuana.

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said legislation fixing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program shouldn’t be tied to the fate of a separate effort to legalize the adult use of recreation marijuana. (©iStock)

“If we truly believe that our medical marijuana program exists to ease the suffering of very sick patients, we shouldn’t tie efforts to improve the program to the outcome of a vote on recreational use,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Unfortunately, it seems likely that the very real needs of medical marijuana patients will continue to be held hostage by the supporters of full legalization, who insist that the very different pieces of legislation must live or die together on the floor of the Legislature. It’s despicable.”

O’Scanlon is a prime sponsor of S-10/2246, which revises New Jersey’s decade-old medical marijuana program to better meet the needs of patients and caregivers.

Separate legislation, S-2703 and S-3205, would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults and allow for the expungement of various convictions related to marijuana possession and distribution, respectively.

Legislative leaders have publicly stated that the consideration of the medical marijuana legislation is conditional upon the approval of the other bills at Monday’s scheduled session of the New Jersey Senate.

“We essentially are being told that our efforts to ease the pain of cancer patients will be blocked if we don’t first vote for recreational use and to expunge a bunch of unrelated criminal records, including those of drug dealers,” added O’Scanlon. “It’s a false equivalence that we shouldn’t be making. This is exactly what’s wrong with Trenton, and exactly why people have such disgust for government.”

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