Corzine Signs New Jersey Medical Marijuana Into Law


NJ.COM: Gov. Jon Corzine tonight signed a measure making New Jersey the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, part of a flurry of bills the Democrat penned in his last full day on the job. The governor stayed out of sight in his Newark office as the Statehouse was readied for Republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie, who takes office at noon Tuesday. The marijuana bill (S119) is expected to take effect in six months. Only patients with specific illnesses would be permitted to get a prescription: cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gherig’s disease), severe muscle spasms, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year. The law allows the state health department to include other illnesses when it writes rules implementing it. The law has other restrictions, such as forbidding people from growing their own marijuana, ensuring it is dispensed through licensed “alternate treatment centers,” and requiring designated caretakers who retrieve the drug on behalf of someone severely ill to undergo criminal background checks. “It means a lot to my family whether I can go sleigh-riding or not, or even just a day at the beach,” said Chuck Kwiatkowski, a 38-year-old multiple sclerosis patient from Hazlet who uses the drug. “It’s a great thing to not feel like a criminal anymore.” MORE


WALL STREET JOURNAL: The relatively limited research supporting medical marijuana poses practical challenges for doctors and patients who want to consider it as a therapeutic option. It’s often unclear when, or whether, it might work better than traditional drugs for particular people. Unlike prescription drugs it comes with no established dosing regimen. “I don’t know what to recommend to patients about what to use, how much to use, where to get it,” says Scott Fishman, chief of pain medicine at the University of California, Davis medical school, who says he rarely writes marijuana recommendations, typically only at a patient’s request. Researchers say it’s difficult to get funding and federal approval for marijuana research. In November, the AMA urged the federal government to review marijuana’s position in the most-restricted category of drugs, so it could be studied more easily. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *