November 16, 2010

New Jersey Doctors Must Try to Wean Patients off Marijuana

November 16, 2010
New Jersey medical marijuana

New Jersey sure has had a rough time with its new medical marijuana law, and although I mentioned this in last night’s SFL, I wanted to write an article about it. New Jersey’s newest speed bump comes from Gov. Christie’s administration proposing that when the law goes into effect next year, doctors will have to “make responsible efforts” to wean their patients off marijuana at least every 3 months. Christie’s administration claims these routine evaluations are to ensure that patients are not becoming addicts.

One of the law’s sponsors and a lobbyist for the medicinal marijuana program expressed surprise and disappointment with the proposal, calling it the latest assault on the law Christie inherited when he took office in January.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) have sponsored a resolution awaiting a floor vote that would repeal the medical marijuana program rules as written by the Department of Health and Senior Services. They claim the rules – which include stricter limits on the drug’s potency and how many may outlets shall grow and sell it – would make it too restrictive to benefit those who really need it.

Scutari said he would consider moving to repeal these rules too. He said he expected doctors would be monitoring their patients’ marijuana use, but didn’t want them to discourage its use at every opportunity.

“It should be treated like every other medicine,’’ Scutari said. “I did not envision doctors would have to be told to stop writing prescriptions. They know how to treat their patients.”

Roseanne Scotti of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey said she believes the Christie administration is “bogging down the law with so many completely unnecessary and outrageous regulations, it won’t be workable.”

“I don’t know of any other medication where a doctor is required to wean patients off. There are many other drugs that have such a higher potential for abuse and addiction,” Scotti said.

Health Commissioner Poonam Alaigh has defended the strict rules to guard against the state from becoming too lax, like California and Colorado. The program is designed “to ensure that a physician has an ongoing relationship with a patient and that medicinal marijuana is only available to those patients who truly need it.”

This is just another attempt by ignorant people to stop marijuana from becoming socially accepted. You all remember how hard it was when you were a kid to accept that Santa wasn’t real? Well imagine that your whole life you have been told that Santa is real and then when you are in your 40’s someone tries to explain to you that he doesn’t exist; of course you aren’t going to believe them! Look, I know it’s hard for some people to believe that marijuana can be so beneficial and harmless after they’ve been told their whole life that it kills brain cells and causes cancer, but you can’t deny it any more! Stop making stupid rules and regulations to try and clog up the system, and stop treating marijuana like a Schedule I drug. It greatly improves the lives of the people that need it, so cut the bullshit and let them have their medicine.

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