New Jersey's registration system for patients to receive medical marijuana opened yesterday, meaning that they could begin receiving cannabis as early as next month when the state's first dispensary opens. "Creating all of these systems was a little time consuming, but we believe we’ve provided a streamlined easy to use system for patients and physicians and something that will stand up to law enforcement scrutiny," Mary O'Dowd, New Jersey's Department of Health Commissioner, told the Star-Ledger. That scrutiny wouldn't necessarily come from governor Chris Christie, but President Barack Obama.
New Jersey's medical marijuana regulations are considerably stricter than California's (New Jersey patients must have a qualifying illness or petition the Department of Health for a prescription, and only one clinic has received a grow permit to date) but last month federal law enforcement raided California's largest and most-respected marijuana dispensary.
Despite President Obama's vow to not use federal resources to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state law, that's exactly what he's done since taking office. Last year the Department of Justice even sent a memo to states considering medical marijuana legislation—including New Jersey—that may exempt the Garden State from federal prosecution but also repeats the refrain that those who "knowingly facilitate" medical marijuana "are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law," and "are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution."