Monday, January 11, 2010

New Jersey legislature approves medical marijuana; Governor to sign it into law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Ken @ (609) 394-2137

New Jersey legislature approves medical marijuana; Governor to sign it into law

WHO: The New Jersey State Legislature
WHAT: Approved the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (S119/A804)
WHEN: Monday, 01/11/10
WHERE: The New Jersey State House in Trenton, NJ
WHY: To protect seriously ill New Jersey patients who use marijuana with the certification of a NJ licensed physician

The New Jersey State Assembly and Senate approved the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (A804/S119) on Monday, January 11, 2010 in separate voting sessions in Trenton. Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign the legislation into law this week. New Jersey will become the 14th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. The bill was originally introduced in January, 2005 by Senator Nick Scutari. Many supporters of the bill attended the voting sessions, led by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ). CMMNJ Executive Director, Ken Wolski, RN said, “We are grateful that the legislators finally acknowledged that marijuana is medicine and that patients in New Jersey who use it with a doctor’s recommendation should not fear arrest and imprisonment. But this is really a national issue. New Jersey citizens should be able to travel anywhere in the country and use their medicine without fear of arrest. We are calling on the federal government to reschedule marijuana to a more appropriate schedule, and to protect New Jersey patients who need to travel outside the state.”

A804/ S119 will remove the state-wide penalties for the possession, and use of up to two ounces of marijuana when a New Jersey licensed physician recommends it for one of the qualifying medical conditions. Qualifying medical conditions include cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, etc. The physician must have an on-going responsibility for the patient’s condition. Patients will be issued ID cards in a program run by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Patients may designate a caregiver to assist them with obtaining and using the marijuana. The caregiver must also register with DHSS. The marijuana will be obtained from Alternative Treatment Centers which will be set up in the north, central and southern parts of the state, with two Centers in each region to start. The Centers will be tightly regulated by the DHSS and the Department of Law and Public Safety, which will monitor the amount of marijuana dispensed at these Centers, much as it now monitors the way Scheduled narcotics are dispensed. New Jersey will be unique among the 14 medical marijuana states in that only the Garden State will prohibit home cultivation of medical marijuana.

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana. For more info, contact:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618
609.394.2137 www.cmmnj.org ohamkrw@aol.com

38 comments:

  1. Congratulations from Kentucky! I am a diabetic neuropathy patient who is prescribed METHADONE for pain - the doctors want me to take 4 10mg methadone tablets per day and I would be a drooling idiot if I took all that... so I WAS supplementing taking ONE tablet in the morning with a little marijuana at night -- not enough to get "stoned" but just enough to knock the pain down... well, police broke down my door about 8 months ago and arrested me for 8 grams of pot... and a 30 year old water pipe I used to filter out the carcinogens. I am now a convicted criminal for taking a drug much less debilitating than the "legal" drug I am prescribed. I am very heartened to see an Eastern US state pass a medical MJ law... maybe the "powers that be" in Kentucky will see what is going on and get with the program. I now can't use MJ at all, because I am subject to 5 years in prison for a second offense. So... my only choice at this point is to take more methadone or hurt like living hell. CONGRATULATIONS, NEW JERSEY! Please send reps down here to KY to start the same movement. We USED to be the country's leading hemp grower.

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  2. You have to love how the state gets to make money, with their "Non-Profit" centers. I realize that people need this for medicine but even Pharmacutical companies get to make money off of products derived from opiates and other highly addictive substances. The fact that the state is taking all of this profit for themselves is B.S. where in every other state that this has been done, the people are allowed to profit like any other business. It is a step forward, but the terms are unacceptable.

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  3. "804/ S119 will remove the state-wide penalties for the possession, and use of up to two ounces of marijuana when a New Jersey licensed physician recommends it for one of the qualifying medical conditions. Qualifying medical conditions include cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, etc."

    Can the "etc." be elaborated on? I've been suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for 20 years (currently 28 years old) my hands and fingers are deformed from the disease. Will I be able to finally find relief from my 24/7 pain?

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  4. Please provide a list of diseases that are acceptable and how to obtain the prized card. I'm a chronic pain sufferer and stopped using MJ for fear of arrest and now am on disability bacause of my condition. Contact numbers, particulars and procedures would be very helpful for potential candidates.
    Thank you so much!!!
    Frustrated but hopeful in NJ

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  5. I read an article in the NY Times, it stated that NJ would only pass the bill if it provided restrictions against loosly defined conditions such as "chronic pain and anxiety"...chronic pain is NOT a loosly defined condition, I have a half dozen ruptured discs, dejenerative disc disease complicated by arthritis and scoliosis, and I hurt like hell day in and day out! To restrict te use of anything that could possibly make my normal life tolerable is criminal! I'm glad the bill got through the sate senate, but once in place, it needs to be tweaked further with the help and input of the pain managment physicians in our fine state. Chronic pain sufferers unite! Ours is a greatly misunderstood, maligned and ostricised condition!

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  6. How do we sign-up for the identifing card? Why do we have to be identified?? It seems to me like the list for sexual offenders. But, whatever--When and how will this be implemented?

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  7. You can find more information on A804/S119 at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?billnumber=S119
    The links for the 25-page reprint and 3-page Floor Statement lay out the details of the legislation. To answer your question directly Jessica and Akasha, "the definition of 'debilitating medical condition'... include[s] severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome resulting from positive status for HIV/AIDS, cancer “or the treatment thereof,” and add muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease, and terminal illness if a physician determines that the patient has 12 months or less to live."

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  8. Thank you very much, ameerhuman for the link to the legislation! Two clarifications:

    - For people who might be confused by seeing several reprint links, the 25-page (and, if we're not mistaken, final) reprint is the last one listed. When opened, it says at the top that it is the third reprint.
    - The Floor Statement appears to list the changes to previous versions, and those changes are incorporated in the third (final) version. So unless you're interested in the legislative history, readers can skip that.

    The definitions and descriptions of eligibility are laid out in Third Reprint, pages 3 & 10. I have pasted them below.

    But first--*please* keep in mind that the law is the only first of two important steps! (I write as a former NJ state employee who was involved in the area of a department that administered programs and issued regulations).

    We have the law; now it's up to the N.J. Dept. of of Health to issue regulations. Laws generally say what can/cannot/must/must not be done. Regulations, more or less, provide details and procedures on how the department with responsibility for the program administers it.

    Generally, the department, in this instance, the NJ Department of Health, will issue proposed regulations, and allow a 30-, 45-, 60-day or longer comment period from anyone--advocates, opponents, lobbyists, physicians, etc. We supporters of med-mj should review those proposed regulations, and comment. Departments that issue regulations do read and consider comments, pro and con, from the everyone who sends them in. Regulations can be made unnecessarily restrictive or vague, in which cases we should object. They can also be made to help the program well, in which case we should voice our support!

    Regards, Marc Grobman

    From page 3:
    1 2[3. As used in this act:
    2 “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a physician has
    3 completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history and
    4 current medical condition, including a personal physical
    5 examination.
    6 “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Health and Senior
    7 Services.
    8 “Debilitating medical condition” means:
    9 (1) cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human
    10 immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or
    11 the treatment of these conditions;
    12 (2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its
    13 treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or
    14 wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures,
    15 including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; severe
    16 and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those
    17 characteristic

    From Page 10:
    1 3. (New section) As used in this act:
    [lines snipped]
    12 “Debilitating medical condition” means:
    (1) 313 one of the following conditions, if resistant to conventional
    medical therapy:3 seizure disorder, including epilepsy3[,];3 14
    intractable skeletal muscular spasticity3;3 or glaucoma 315 [that is
    resistant to conventional medical therapy]316 ;
    (2) 317 one of the following conditions, if severe or chronic pain,
    18 severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome results
    from the condition or treatment thereof:3 19 positive status for human
    20 immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or
    cancer 321 [that results in severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or
    vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome]322 ;
    23 (3) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal
    cancer324 , muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease,
    25 including Crohn’s disease;
    26 (4) terminal illness, if the physician has determined a prognosis
    of less than 12 months of life327 ; or
    3[(4)] (5)3
    28 any other medical condition or its treatment that is
    29 approved by the department by regulation.
    30 “Department” means the Department of Health and Senior
    31 Services.

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  9. We really should be able to grow our own. At least a small amount. The only reason they cut that option out is because they want to make $$$ off of the sales....

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  10. So I guess the text "resulting from positive status for HIV/AIDS, cancer “or the treatment thereof,” and add muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease, and terminal illness if a physician determines that the patient has 12 months or less to live."" means that my Rheumatoid Arthritis will not be considered under the "chronic pain"? I'm a little confused....

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. So Marc, would mayoclonic epilepsy fall under the law as a valid condition for mmj?

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  13. Dave asked:

    "Would mayoclonic epilepsy fall under the law as a valid condition for mmj?"

    First, a caution: I've worked with lawyers and medical professionals, and have written about the legislative and regulatory process, but I am not an expert in the medical or legal fields. So what follows are only educated guesses and interpretations.

    The law states that "epilepsy" is a qualifying ("debilitating") medical condition, on page 10: "seizure disorder, including epilepsy." I assume that since the law does not name any specific types of epilepsy, it means all types are covered. Dave, is there a reason you think it might cover other forms of epilepsy, but not myoclonic epilepsy?

    The definition of what constitutes a qualifying medical condition is one of the areas where we should carefully review the proposed regulations when they're issued, and send in our comments. For example, the law states (again, page 10) that the debilitating medical condition must be "resistant to conventional medical therapy." Suppose you now take morphine or prednisone for your medical condition. Let’s suppose also that you prefer med-mj because these drugs cost you too much money, or because morphine disorients you, or because prednisone makes you gain weight and have severe mood swings. If regulatory writers take a broad approach (remember, I’m speculating), they might write the regulations broadly, and allow med-mj as an alternative treatment to the conventional medical therapy of morphine or prednisone. Or, they might write the regs narrowly, and say that since the conventional medical treatment works (regardless of side effects), you are not eligible.

    Here's another example: the law says that in addition to the specific medical conditions it names, the regulations can be written to "include any other medical condition." If I am interpreting that correctly, that means the regulations could be written to add migraine headaches and other medical conditions to the definition of “debilitating medical condition.” Or, the regs could be written so narrowly that they limit the conditions only to those named in the law.

    Let's all keep our senses open for the issuance of the proposed regulations, and spread the news when they're issued. You can bet that opponents of the law will do so, and argue for the most narrow and restrictive regulations possible.

    Regards,
    Marc Grobman

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  14. Today's Star Ledger (Wed., Jan. 13) has an informative story on how the program will work, and what has yet to be determined, titled:

    "FAQs on N.J. Legislature-approved bill that would legalize medical marijuana."

    See it online at:

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/medical_marijuana_question_answers.html

    -Marc

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  15. Thanks for that info Marc.

    Well juvenile mayoclonic epilepsy causes seizures and is more prevelant in teen years but can continue later in life like my case. My medication has the seizures under controll but was at the same time contributed to my now treated depression.

    I am by no means on the same level as ms, AIDS, or cancer patients, but it would be very comforting to know mmj is a safe option.

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  16. Also, just out of curiosity, is there any mentioning of concentrates on the bill?

    While I often self-medicate with cannabis, I find that concentrates, especially bubble hashish, are a lot more effective than corresponding plant matter.

    Thanks
    Dave

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  17. Still wondering about RA and if the bill reads the correct way as to allow for that or not...

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    Replies
    1. Justin, I would like to know about ra also, from what I am reading marijuanna may be the best bet to help stay away from steroids. If you find out please let me know

      Delete
  18. I just read the most recent text and it says

    "“Debilitating medical condition” means:
    (1) cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions;
    (2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; "

    Rheumatoid Arthritis produces severe and chronic pain so I guess that means that I'm "in"?

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  19. the link for the Bill does not work; it connects to s119 "Clarifies that harassment made anonymously or otherwise through electronic communication devices constitutes a petty disorderly offense."


    I searched on that site like craaaazzzzzyyyy and cannot find the updated Bill.

    on another note, does the Bill mention any info on who is to provide mmj for the state? I have a "farm" in South Jersey and wanted to know if i could put it to use, as it is not used a a farm now.

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  20. Does anyone know if the regulations cover (or will cover) either treatment-resistant nightmares of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or severe nausea/vomiting of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder? I suffer tremendously from these conditions and the only thing that seems to help is MJ.

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  21. Not sure how to find out if my condition qualifies for the use of medical marijuana. I have had surgery for herniated disk in my neck. Levels C3 through c7 have been fused together.I still have pain not as bad as before surgery and marijuana seems to help. Where can I find info on if my condition qualifies for the use of medical marijuana

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  22. Does anyone know of any NJ doctors that will be willing to recommend medical marijuana? The current pain management doctor I have has already told me that he does not support the compassion use of medical marijuana act. I have had multiple surgeries, including two fusions, since 2005 because of multiple torn discs. I suffer every day from severe pain. The pain is bad enough that it causes constant nausea and occasional vomiting. I know from prior use that marijuana helps with both. So my question again is, does anyone know if there is a group of doctors that support the act or does anyone know of any doctor that will recommend? And lastly does anyone know if a primary physician can prescribe it? Or will the doctors need a special license?

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  23. medical marijuana is good cause it health some problem it help people with terminal decease

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  24. There are many people who truly need it but maybe others will take advantage of the government to legalize for more drug trafficking, contraband, and many more crimes ... apart from the issue of crime I consume generic viagra something I'd get hit consume marijuana??

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  25. Is it legitimate in New Jersey to be prescribed medical marijuana for my bipolar disorder? I've heard anecdotal stories of its use as a mood stabilizer, and in my experience its been the best medication i've used, with the least side effects compared to the anti-seizure medications used for bipolar disorder. I did not see it on the list, but would a doctor be able to work with me? Thanks if anyone has a lengthier response you can email me at do552@eagle.pbu.edu. thanks!

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  26. Do you have to be a New Jersey resident? I live in NY and it is real easy for me to get to New Jersey when I need some medicine....

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  29. I have been battling chronic pain from fibromyalgia for most of my life. I currently take several narcotic medications. oxycotin, roxycodone, tramandol, and some other medications. I am tired of taking all these pain killers that dont even take all the pain away. I can't even image what is happening to my body because of the long term use. Marijuana would really help me so I take less pills. Can marijuana be prescribed for fibromyalgia? If it is how do I go about getting it prescribed? Thanks

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  32. Iam a 61 year old Diabetic type 2 for 9 years. Last year I was diagnosed with Athritis in my neck and shoulders. I have regular bouts of pain from the athritis. Do I have a chance @ getting on med. marijuana? Do I fit the "Debilitating medical condition" language with 2 cronic dieases? Thanks.

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  34. I still haven't seen anything about arthritis. I would love to take something besides steroids.

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