N.J. lawmakers approve bill legalizing medical marijuana
New Jerseyans suffering from debilitating diseases would be able to get prescriptions for marijuana to ease their pain under a bill that passed both legislative houses today.
The Assembly approved the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana" bill 48-14; the Senate passed it 25-13. Gov. Jon Corzine has said he would sign the bill into law before he leaves office Jan. 19.
The bill is expected to take effect in six months, making New Jersey the 14th state to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. Sponsors declared it the toughest in the country. The law would forbid people from growing their own pot; license "alternate treatment centers" to dispense the drug and require designated caretakers who retrieve the drug on behalf of a severely ill person to undergo criminal background checks....