We must have a tremendous amount of respect for Governor Christie. It took a great amount of courage for him to stand up at the Republican National Convention and say that we should not be putting “bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/105288051/CC-Patient-and-Doctor, line 267 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=61uCHhDLWh4#t=1079s).
The medical marijuana bureaucracy designed under your predecessors’ watch (when the Department of Health and Senior Services ignored public commentary that predicted the inevitable short-comings of the current state of the program (http://www.scribd.com/doc/105499771/CMMNJ-Report-on-NJ-Medical-Marijuana-Doctor-Registry), held sham public hearings, and ultimately saw its leadership resign) is clearly no longer in line with the Governor’s intention to remove bureaucratic interference from between a patient and her doctor. This medical marijuana program was designed to fail and the fact that it is succeeding spectacularly by that measure does not reflect well on its designers and implementers who preceded you.
Perhaps now would be a good time to hold a third public hearing on the medical marijuana regulations, and, this time, perhaps, we could show the public a modicum of respect by having an above-the-line official with decision-making authority from DHSS actually attend the public hearing for this ground-breaking program. Perhaps, this time, the attending officials could even be permitted to take notes… orspeak (you should have seen the look of horror on the faces of the two junior staffers, Terry Clancy and Samuel Stewart, who were forced to listen in silent motionlessness for two hours to the March 7, 2011 prescient public testimony of real live people in pain… I don’t suppose DHSS video-taped it?). And if the current broad yet illicit use of medical marijuana across the Garden State is, in fact, a public health threat, perhaps we should remove the doctor registry and ensure with reasonably-accessible medical marijuana cards that patients begin to consult with their very real doctors on a regular basis about their marijuana use (in a gambit to discourage doctor shopping, we have clearly failed miserably). Who knows, discussion of marijuana use with a patient’s very real physician may uncover other psychological or physiological issues which the marijuana use is masking. That would truly be a medical model.
Now is the time to heed Governor Christie’s bold and principled call. The interests of the Governor and the People of the Garden State whom he serves are aligned… we should not place bureaucrats between an American citizen and her doctor. Now is the time for DHSS to disassemble this perverse, arbitrary, and capricious medical marijuana bureaucracy which was left to be implemented under your willing commission.
Very truly yours,
56 Amherst Place
Livingston, New Jersey 07039