By BETH AUERSWALD
TRENTON - Independent gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. William Schluter announced on Tuesday that he supports the medical use of marijuana and has crafted a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to amend federal law making the practice illegal.
"The use of marijuana for medical purposes when prescribed by a physician should be allowed in New Jersey as well as in other states," said Schluter, the long-time Republican who announced his Independent bid for governor almost three weeks ago.
"Research has shown that marijuana has therapeutic and pain abetting qualities when used for patients suffering (from) glaucoma, for those with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, for the side effects of AIDS and for persons afflicted with multiple sclerosis."
The resolution, which must pass both the Senate and Assembly, urges Congress to amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow the use of marijuana under certain circumstances.
In May the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal law does not allow for medical uses of marijuana, including treatment and research. The case invalidates a New Jersey law to allow the drug’s use for medical research, said Schluter, Hunterdon/Warren.
"I am convinced that this narrow use of marijuana (for medical purposes) can be conducted under strict controls so that illegal distribution to the general public would not occur," Schluter said.
"There is a clear public health interest to be served by congressional action to permit the very limited use of marijuana for the medical purposes stipulated in those states where such laws have been enacted or approved by the voters."