Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Jersey to pass medical marijuana bill

From New York Times on 01/12/10

TRENTON — The New Jersey Legislature approved a measure on Monday that would make the state the 14th in the nation, but one of the few on the East Coast, to legalize the use of marijuana to help patients with chronic illnesses.

The measure — which would allow patients diagnosed with severe illnesses like cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to have access to marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries — was passed by the General Assembly and State Senate on the final day of the legislative session.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would sign it into law before leaving office next Tuesday. Supporters said that within nine months, patients with a prescription for marijuana from their doctors should be able to obtain it at one of six locations.

Finally some rational legal policy about cannibis on the east coast. It is about time. Can New York State be far behind?

Two years ago we had an OASAS program reviewer at GCASA telling us that an agency was cited in Syracuse because a nurse practitioner there had written into a treatment plan that she recommended that a patient confined to a wheelchair because of Multiple Sclerosis use cannabis.

I stated in the exit meeting that it seemed like a reasonable treatment plan to me. The reviewer said that it was unacceptable. When I asked why, the reviewer said that OASAS has an abstinence based treatment model.

This is not true. OASAS licensed programs use methadone, suboxone, and other psychotropic medications on a regular basis.

It is interesting how much of our drug policies are still not based on any rational science but rather on ideological myths.

It is a positive thing to see that New Jersey is finally legalizing the availability of cannabis to people who can be benefited by it.

It is interesting how New Jersey is leading the way. How long before New York follows?

And let me point out again, that alcohol causes 100 times the problems in our society that cannabis does.

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