Sunday, December 12, 2010

NJ Senate: Support SCR 130--rewrite medical marijuana rules

On Monday, December 13, 2010 the New Jersey Senate will vote on resolution SCR130 which will require the Department of Health and Senior Services to change certain sections of the proposed medical marijuana regulations (rules). Patients and advocates support SCR130 because:

• The 10% cap on THC is arbitrary, capricious and inappropriate.
• The rules are stricter for Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) than they are for full service pharmacies. The rules so micromanage ATCs that none may ever get started.
• The law calls for a patient registry. The physician registry called for in the rules is unnecessary and will have a chilling effect on the program.
• The patient ID card application is impossible to complete as it requires the name and address of the non-existent ATC. Incomplete applications risk forfeiture of patient application fees.
• The DHSS, despite its power to add qualifying conditions to the law at any time, insists that patients must suffer until October 2013 before it will even consider accepting petitions to add qualifying conditions.
• The proposal by the state Board of Medical Examiners to make New Jersey doctors try to wean their patients off of medical marijuana every three months is nothing short of cruel, given the debilitating nature of the conditions that qualify for marijuana therapy.
• 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.”
• DHSS clearly recognizes specific medical uses for marijuana and proposes a program for the safe delivery of marijuana to patients. Yet the DHSS continues to delay the rescheduling of marijuana in New Jersey from a Schedule I drug to a more appropriate schedule. Schedule I drugs have “no accepted medical uses” and are “unsafe for use even under medical supervision.”

Patients and advocates expect reasonable rules to enact the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana law. These rules should not be overly burdensome and unnecessary, or driven by fear, ignorance and hostility. More info is at

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618 (609) 394-2137

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