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Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is a relatively notorious politician whose mouth seems to be under constant attack by his foot. He has recently come under serious fire for stating that there is no demand for medical cannabis in his state, that all medical cannabis programs are a front for legalization. Of course, in the real world, there isn’t a lack of demand for medical marijuana in New Jersey, just a really broken medical cannabis program. (You can read more Ladybud coverage of Chris Christie’s intractable stance on cannabis here).
Not all politicians in New Jersey have a backwards approach to medical cannabis, thankfully. Some people understand that the reason that only 2,342 people have signed up for the program is that the program itself is broken. Linda Stender, a State Assemblywoman, has proposed amendments to the state’s medical cannabis law that could be a boon for the seriously ill in the state of New Jersey.
Assembly Bill 3525 would allow patients to cultivate their own cannabis, reduces the number of doctor recommendations needed for seriously ill children, protects workers if they are using cannabis while not at work, eliminate the cannabis sales tax, and also adds to the number of qualifying conditions. The new conditions would be Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, post traumatic stress disorder, Lyme disease, anorexia, hepatitis, and “any other condition [involving] severe and chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting.”
Currently, the industry in the state is floundering, and children are dying while waiting for safe access to medication. Only the most severe of conditions qualify (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, and inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease). There are a few other qualifying conditions, but the amount of red tape is certainly the primary deterrent from people signing up for the program.
If A3525 passes and changes the law in New Jersey, it would save the floundering cannabis industry in the state, which is slowly being starved. Eve the most dedicated non-profit caregivers still need to pay their bills and storefront expenses. It seems like most people and politicians in the state have a rational approach to the issue, it seems like there’s a long way to go before the governor shares that approach.
We are hopeful that Linda Stender and others like her can help move along the necessary legal reform to bring safe access to the people of New Jersey. Ladybud Magazine will continue following the bill as it progresses.
Read past Ladybud coverage of the New Jersey situation here.
Photo Credit: Niagara under [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons