Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Christie administration seeks to delay the New Jersey medical marijuana law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Ken @ (609) 394-2137
WHO: Governor Chris Christie’s administration
WHAT: Wants to delay the New Jersey Medical Marijuana law for up to one year
WHEN: May 27, 2010
WHERE: Trenton, NJ
WHY: The logistics involved are too complex for the NJ Department of Health
A proposal by Governor Christie’s administration seeks to delay the implementation of the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" by up to one year. The request for a 6-12 month delay was first reported this week in the NJ Spotlight. New Jersey became the 14th US state to legalize medical marijuana on January 18, 2010. The law is scheduled to take effect in July. The bill, originally introduced in 2005 by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), saw broad bi-partisan support when it eventually passed. It was reported that senior staff in Governor Christie's office asked for the delay because they feared the complexities of developing a business model for medical cannabis distribution. Ken Wolski, RN, Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) said, “There must be no delay in implementing this law. Patients are suffering now, and to tell them they must continue to suffer for another year because of the bureaucrats in Trenton is unacceptable.”
Advocates noted that with any delay to the program many terminally ill patients would not live to find relief with legal medical marijuana. Hospice and Palliative Care networks are some of the strongest supporters of the medical cannabis law. Wolski continued, “Marijuana is recognized as medicine in New Jersey and patients deserve timely access to it. The recent trial and conviction of MS patient John Wilson in Somerville amply proves that patients desperately need regulated access to marijuana that is legal in the eyes of police, prosecutors, judges and juries around the state.”
The new law removes penalties for the possession, and use of marijuana when a New Jersey licensed physician recommends it for one of the qualifying medical conditions. These conditions include cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, etc. Patients will be issued ID cards in a program run by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The marijuana will be obtained from Alternative Treatment Centers that will be licensed and regulated by the state. Of the 14 medical marijuana states, only the Garden State currently prohibits patients from cultivating their own medical marijuana in the safety of their homes.
Wolski noted that in a February 2010 letter to DHSS Director Joe Eldridge, CMMNJ offered free, expert advice in the development of regulations to implement the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana law. Thus far, DHSS has not requested any information from CMMNJ. CMMNJ was formed in 2003, incorporated in New Jersey and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the federal government. CMMNJ is the only statewide organization solely dedicated to providing education and information about safe and legal access to medical marijuana, and it has closely followed the law’s evolution and patients’ concerns. CMMNJ’s Board of Directors includes health care professionals, attorneys and potential patients with over 50 years of combined experience directly related to medical marijuana. CMMNJ is uniquely qualified to assist in developing effective regulations for New Jersey. Patients and advocates at CMMNJ welcome a dialogue with DHSS and the Christie Administration to discuss the best plan to implement the law.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org