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Originally published July 26 2010

Rutgers declines request from state to grow marijuana

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) According to a recent Associated Press report, Rutgers University has turned down a proposition from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to grow marijuana as part of the state's new medicinal marijuana program. The university says that, if it were to grow the controversial crop, it may lose out on millions of dollars of federal funding.

Medicinal marijuana is a tricky issue because individual states are increasingly approving its use, while federal regulators are still classifying it as a controlled substance. So states like California that have approved marijuana dispensaries within their states, are often targeted by federal agents who operate based on opposing federal laws.

New Jersey only recently approved medicinal marijuana for patients with certain serious illnesses, but the state does not currently grow any itself to serve them. If the university would have accepted the proposal, Rutgers would have been the first official grower of marijuana in the state of New Jersey.

"Higher education is infinitely tied to the federal government, operating under the presumption we are not violating federal law," explained Robert Goodman, dean of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "We were sincerely interested in the opportunity, but we had external counsel and our folks look into it and yesterday it became totally clear we could not do this."

Gov. Christie's administration is now recommending that the state pursue private growers to take up the claim instead, which was part of Christie's original plan for the program.

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