FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/3/2010
The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey CMMNJ
CONTACT: Ken Wolski 609 394 2137 email@example.com
UPDATE: - Gov. Christie cancels medical marijuana hearing at War Memorial
- CMMNJ press conference also canceled
CMMNJ comments on the Governor’s Medical Marijuana "compromise" and cancellation of the DHSS Public Hearing from executive director Ken Wolski:
CMMNJ is glad to see that the Governor is trying to craft regulations that are more closely in line with the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, but much work remains to be done.
We are glad that the ATC’s will be the way the law intended them to be. But this can hardly be considered a compromise—the law was quite clear that all ATCs should be responsible for cultivation, processing and distribution of medical marijuana. The rules still regulate ATCs more strictly than full service pharmacies are regulated, and this is inappropriate.
Similarly, the rules should never have required physicians to include a statement that each and every patient “has not responded to conventional medical treatment.” We are glad that the rules are returning to the language of the law, which currently requires only a few diagnoses to be resistant to conventional treatment in order to qualify for marijuana therapy.
Patients and advocates still have a number of serious concerns and strenuous objections to many provisions in these deeply flawed proposals which are not only contrary to law but which will only serve to further harm already suffering people.
* The 10% cap on THC is arbitrary, capricious and inappropriate.
* The law calls for a patient registry. It does not require physicians to register in order to certify that patients have a qualifying condition. This registration process is unnecessary, outside the scope of the law and will have a chilling effect on the program.
* The DHSS has said on their web site for months that pain patients would be included in the law. Now they have restricted chronic pain eligibility only to cancer and AIDS patients. Gov. Christie misinformed Pat Layton of Cape May Court House this past August. Ms Layton asked the governor about the availability of medical marijuana because she suffers from back pain due to nerve damage. Layton said the governor told her that medical marijuana would be available for people with the kind of pain she experiences. But it won’t be. The DHSS, despite its power to add qualifying conditions to the law at any time, states patients must suffer, at a minimum, until October 2013 before the DHSS will even consider accepting petitions to add qualifying conditions. Tens of thousands of New Jersey pain patients who have waited for the Compassionate Use Act to take effect will now find that the very law that was passed to protect them and provide them relief does still not protect them.
* The DHSS says, “…the Act finds and declares that marijuana has beneficial uses in treating or alleviating pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions.” Yet the DHSS continues to require physicians to attest that they “have provided education for the patient on the lack of scientific consensus for the use of medical marijuana.”
* Governor Christie has said that he will not permit a “relaxation” of the regulations, and the entire DHSS staff is following his lead. Medical decisions about this program are being made not in the realm of science but in the realm of politics. The Health Department should function for public health, not a political agenda.
* DHSS clearly recognizes specific medical uses for marijuana and proposes a program for the safe delivery of marijuana to patients. It should not delay for even a moment the rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a more appropriate schedule. The New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, (N.J.S.A. 24:21-2) defines a Schedule I drug as one that “has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.”
Patients and advocates have worked hard for many years to get this law passed. They should expect reasonable regulations to enact the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana law that are not overly burdensome and unnecessary.
CONTACT: Ken Wolski firstname.lastname@example.org 609 394 2137
CMMNJ is the only tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit in New Jersey whose mission is to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana.