Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Medical marijuana law: patients demand amendments and implementation

WHO: Medical marijuana patients, families and advocates
WHAT: Hold a Press Conference to demand that the Governor and the Legislature amend and implement the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, after two full years
WHEN: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:00 noon
WHERE: The State House steps, Trenton, NJ
WHY: The governor has delayed this law since he took office; patients have no legal protection

Medical marijuana patients and advocates will demand that Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey Legislature amend and implement New Jersey’s medical marijuana law at a Press Conference at the State House steps in Trenton, NJ on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:00 noon.

The “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" was signed into law on January 18, 2010. Still, not a single patient in this state has enjoyed the legal protection that this law was designed to provide. Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) said, “Gov. Christie has delayed and obstructed this law since he took office. The Legislature is also abandoning the seriously ill residents that this law was passed to protect. Qualifying New Jersey residents deserve to have this law working”

New Jersey passed the first compassionate use law in the country that did not include provisions for patients or their caregivers to grow cannabis. Language to allow micro-plots of up to six plants was stripped away from the legislation at the Assembly Health Committee hearing chaired by Herb Conaway on June 4, 2009. The Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) in the original bill were registered collective gardens but were re-designed as quasi-pharmacies after that hearing. Now seriously ill residents must rely on six regional ATCs for all of their marijuana. But ATCs have struggled to open, leaving NJ patients with no marijuana at all. Home cultivation is permitted in 14 states and guarantees safe and legal access to qualified, registered patients.

CMMNJ is calling on the Governor and the Legislature to support amendments to the Compassionate Use Act:
restore home cultivation (six plants per patient/caregiver);
restore ATCs as collective gardens, in addition to quasi-pharmacies;
restore chronic pain from any cause as a qualifying condition and respect out-of-state ID cards;
add explicit workplace and housing protection for registered patients;
stop the physician registry and start the patient registry; and,
reschedule marijuana to a more appropriate schedule that acknowledges marijuana’s accepted medical uses in the U.S., its safety profile and its low addiction potential.

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits medical marijuana.

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

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