What CUMMA is and How It Affects Possession of Marijuana Arrests

by | Mar 15, 2016 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, Marijuana

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (better known as CUMMA) is an act that allows the distribution and possession of medical marijuana.  Specifically, CUMMA declares the following:

a) Modern medical research has discovered a beneficial use for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in March 1999;

b) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 99 out of every 100 marijuana arrests in the country are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marijuana;

c) Although federal law currently prohibits the use of marijuana, the laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and in Arizona doctors are permitted to prescribe marijuana. New Jersey joins this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens;

d) States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law; therefore, compliance with this act does not put the State of New Jersey in violation of federal law; and

e) Compassion dictates that a distinction be made between medical and non-medical uses of marijuana. Hence, the purpose of this act is to protect from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties, those patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes.

To summarize, this Act was created due to a study in 1999 that proved the use of marijuana helps to treat some debilitating medical conditions.  New Jersey (among many other states) felt that it wasn’t right to restrict citizens with certain debilitating medical conditions from a legitimate source of relief.  While marijuana is deemed illegal in any way, shape, or form under federal law – states have the right to choose if they would like to enforce that law to the fullest extent.  CUMMA allows New Jersey citizens in need of medical marijuana to obtain and carry the drug.  In addition, there is a process available to physicians, primary caregivers, and distribution centers to obtain a license to legally prescribe and distribute medical marijuana.