Lawmakers have approved a plan to delay the start of New Jersey's legal medical marijuana program by three months.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie asked for the delay. The state Senate approved it 27-5 on Monday. The Assembly followed suit with a 71-1 vote with six abstentions Tuesday morning.
The Legislature passed earlier this year a law to allow patients with certain chronic conditions to buy pot from alternative treatment centers. Legal sales were to start in October.
The delay allows health officials to write regulations. It also may give politicians time to consider a different model for the program.
Christie has suggested having the marijuana grown at Rutgers University and distributed by hospitals.
Medical marijuana advocates oppose the delay.
“Potential patients, advocates and the public have been left out of plans to make changes to the hard-won law. The result is a set of proposals that would effectively doom the program to fail, before it goes into practice.” said Chris Goldstein on Examiner.com.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Goldstein is on the Coalition for Medical Marijuana Board of Directors.
"I expect the administration to move expeditiously to complete its work by the new deadline,” said the bills sponsor Sen. Nicholas Scutari, according to the New Jersey News Room. “Too many people suffering with severe and debilitating illnesses, some of them terminal, have already waited too long."