Weekly Newswatch – July 22, 2011

Week in Review

Medical Marijuana News

This week, Governor Chris Christie held a press conference to give the green light for New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana program. In April, the Governor delayed launching the program out of concern raised by other governors and mayors around the country that state employees affiliated with the program could run risk of arrest by federal law enforcement. A memo by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole on June 30th did not specifically answer the questions about immunity for state or private employees, said Christie, but he is betting they won’t scrutinize legitimate marijuana employees.

Transitional Aid

Also this week, Governor Christie announced that he will restore $139 million in transitional aid to distressed cities through a supplemental appropriation and ensure, by law, that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will have the resources and staff to properly oversee and manage the Transitional Aid program.

Other News

Debt Ceiling

In other news, States around the nation are drawing up contingency plans in the event that federal policymakers don’t resolve the debt ceiling impasse by August 2, 2011. They are preparing for chaos in the municipal debt markets and delays in federal payments for Medicaid, education and other services, which could happen if the federal government defaults on its obligations.