Gov. Christie Makes Plea to Federal Prosecutors

Christie wants to be assured no criminal charges will be filed against state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday said he wants assurances from federal prosecutors that they won't pursue criminal charges against state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs before he agrees to implement a state law that allows the programs.

In an interview Thursday night on New Jersey Network's "On the Line" show, Christie said he won't ask people to do things that might result in prosecution.

"The federal government is saying medical marijuana is against the law," the first-term Republican governor said. "Until I get that assurance, I cannot ask people to do things that they might
get prosecuted (for) by federal prosecutors."

"What happens if they get arrested and I ordered them to do it? That's wrong," Christie added.

Several states have started reassessing their medical marijuana laws after stern warnings from the federal government that everyone from licensed growers to regulators could be subject to criminal prosecution.

Christie said New Jersey has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for guidance but has yet to get a response.

New Jersey legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions last year as Gov. Jon Corzine was leaving office, but implementation has been delayed as the state labors over regulatory

Christie supports the concept of medical marijuana for patients for some conditions but says the law he was given wasn't tough enough - though advocates say it's more restrictive than those in
the 13 other states that allow medical marijuana.

His critics say he's using the regulatory process to change the law.

In March, the state issued licenses for its first six alternative treatment centers - not-for-profit organizations that are allowed to grow and sell marijuana to patients with certain medical conditions. They're expected to begin sales to the public no sooner than late summer, but now even that deadline may be pushed back.

Supporters of medical marijuana say New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is keeping pot from patients who need it.

A half-dozen activists protested at New Jersey's State House on Friday.

The small rally came a day after Christie said he wants assurances from federal authorities that people involved in a state-sanctioned medical marijuana trade won't be prosecuted. He
said he doesn't want to implement the program until he gets such assurances.

Activists say the governor's not likely to get one.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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