Medical marijuana will become law in New Jersey

Jenny Decker RN's picture
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Marijuana is a controversial drug. It is a street drug, but it is also used for medical purposes when no other medication helps one who is suffering greatly. The question is how to get the drug to those who really need it without sending them to jail just for attempting to get relief from pain so severe nothing else even comes close. In line to be the 14th state to legalize the drug, the New Jersey Assembly approves it to use for medical purposes.

Bipartisan support shows that lawmakers are hearing the pleas of advocates for those who desperately need help. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer) told philly.com, “I don’t think we should make criminals out of our very sick and terminally ill. It does not make sense for many of New Jersey’s residents to suffer when there is a viable way to ease their pain.”

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Last February, New Jersey’s state Senate approved a bill for medical marijuana. However, concerns were raised that the laws were not strict enough. Opponents were quick to point out the problems that California has with their medical marijuana law, essentially calling the regulation so loose that the drug was “decriminalized.” Under the law in California, one can legally get marijuana to treat a variety of problems, writes the New York Times.

With these concerns in mind, strict regulations were placed on the use of medical marijuana in New Jersey. First of all, physicians can only write prescriptions for certain serious chronic disorders. One could not grow their own marijuana or use it in public. The law would also require tracking of the drug, like the tracking used for drugs such as Oxycontin and morphine. Mr. Gusciora states that New Jersey will be the model for other states to follow.

Along with the above restrictions, patients would only be able to have 2 ounces of marijuana a month with six state dispensaries available to distribute the medical marijuana. This is a small beginning, but it will definitely have a huge impact for those who need the medical marijuana. The current governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine (D) leaves office on January 13th. He is a supporter for the medical marijuana bill. The new governor coming in, Christopher Christie ( R) is a supporter for the legislation. However, he is still a little uncomfortable with it. Christie told philly.com, “I still think there are some loopholes in the medical marijuana bill that don’t make me completely comfortable. Still, conceptually I support the idea of medical marijuana for seriously ill people for pain relief to them, I think that’s the compassionate thing to do.”

New Jerseyans strongly support the bill. One poll that was commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey in 2006 showed that nearly 86 percent agreed that seriously ill people deserve to have the medication they need if a physician recommends it. Another state, Pennsylvania, is currently considering a medical marijuana bill. This occurred in the House, however the Senate has no intentions of considering the bill even if it passes the House.

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