I once wrote an article asking if medical marijuana would ever come to New Jersey. The foot dragging by Governor Christie was becoming apparent, and it seemed like the program would only exist on paper and in the minds of would be medical marijuana patients. I also wrote a couple of articles calling for the right for patients to grow their own medicine because I saw the obvious flaw in the New Jersey medical marijuana program that would result in limited to no safe access to medical marijuana. Whenever patients can't grow their own medicine, they have to rely on dispensaries. When the number of dispensaries is minimal, it creates a situation where the medicine will run out, and patients are either forced to go without medicine, or have to get it from the black market. Sadly, that is what is going on right now in New Jersey. A word of advice for people fighting for medical marijuana programs in their state - make sure to fight for your right to grow your own medicine. See the heart breaking story below that was sent to me by a reader:
Hello. I'm writing to tell you that for the second week in a row NJ's only functioning medical Marijuana dispensary is cancelling Patient's appointments.
Back in December I contacted you regarding the Department of Health releasing the names of NJ's medical Marijuana program via an email sent to all the patients on their mailing list. Then I spoke to you about the fact that I have uncontrolled Glaucoma and that even though I had my MMJ card from the State I still had not been called for my appointment. Interestingly the very next day I got that call.
Yesterday I got a different call from Greenleaf Compassion Center. The phone call said that I should not come in for my appointment to pick up medicine June 27th because they would be closed. Closed until further notice and I could not be told when that would be.
Greenleaf has only been open 4 hours on Thursday, 10-2, every 2-3 weeks.
June 6th my service dog was diagnosed with cancer and I cancelled my appt. I rescheduled for the next date GCC would be open, June 20. Early last week I was called and told that the crop was ready but the DOH had not inspected it, yet, so it could not be sold. The DOH denies this.
I was rescheduled to come June 27th. Tuesday morning I was called and told there was not enough medicine for Greenleaf to open. I said, "I am out of medicine you have to know that I cannot stop medicating because of my eyes. My inter ocular pressure cannot spike". I was told that it was not worth it from a business perspective to open and have Patients come for only 1/4 of an ounce. I said I would because that 1/4 would get me thru a week.
I was told NO.
Next Thursday is July 4th. The Thursday after that is July 11, but will they have medicine?
How can you go from having medicine to be inspected? A brand new crop? To having not enough? You are only serving 130 out of 1000 Patients. You have been closed yet you are out of medicine a week later? Where did it go?
I called and told the department of health that I am out of medicine and that I fear for my vision. I was told I have to do what I have to do and that there must be a way. The man on the phone said he didn't know how to go about doing that but that there must be a way.
I don't know any other way other than the dispensary. I am a Patient not a criminal. Am I being told to become a criminal to save my eyesight?
This on the heels on S2842 making it thru the Legislature and onto Governor Christie's desk. The bill lifts the 3 strand limit, allows for edible forms of medicine for those who choose not to smoke or vape or who cannot, and for those who need tinctures and other forms of medicine including topicals and lozenges. Lozenges are included in the current regulations but have never been available. Most importantly, it allows for the high cbd strains to be grown and then produced in a butter/oil form for minors who are medical cannabis patients and other patients who cannot inhale. The bill drops the inclusion of a psychiatrist for minor patients which is not needed for adult patients. It allows for a specialist and the child's dr and parents to make informed decisions.
This is especially important for children such as Jackson Stormes and Vivian Wilson. 2 beautiful children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. Other Dravet children in MMJ states have found that non psychoactive high cbd strains of medicinal Cannabis significantly cut down on seizures. I invite you to google this and to look up Jason David and his son Jayden, Charlotte's Web, or even catch a rerun of Weed Country to see the little boy on tv. All these and more children have benefited from high cbd medical marijuana. Not only does Cannabis reduce seizure and muscle spasms, it is neuroprotective and has restorative qualities. Children with Tay Sachs, Sickle Cell and other gene mutations can all benefit from this plant.
Adults also benefit from higher cbd, lower thc medicine, especially during the day when we don't always want to feel the thc. Cannabis is not a one size fits all medication just like there are so many different pharmaceuticals all for the same symptoms. Individuals react differently to different components.
As we pray that Chris Christie actually does have a beating human heart and will not force Patients no matter their age out of NJ we have to wonder-- will we ever have access?