N.J. Senate Approves Bill Allowing Use of MMJ

N.J. Senate Approves Bill Allowing Use of MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on February 23, 2009 at 17:19:50 PT
By Susan K. Livio, The Star-Ledger 
Source: Star-Ledger 
New Jersey -- The state Senate voted today to legalize marijuana for medical use, despite warnings the drug would fall into the hands of recreational users instead of the chronically ill patients who suffer from debilitating symptoms. The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act targets patients suffering from a debilitating disease defined as cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, and other chronic illnesses that cause "wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, seizures and severe and persistent muscle spasms," according to the bill.
"We are not talking about drug addicts and thrill-seekers -- we are talking about desperately sick people in need of relief," Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), one of the bill's sponsors, said before the vote. In order to participate, patients would need a written recommendation from their doctor and approval from the state Department of Health and Senior Services, which would issue identification cards. Enrolled patients would be protected from criminal prosecution to possess up to six plants or one ounce of marijuana. The state would also license "compassion centers" that would grow and distribute the plants, according to the bill. "This is a vote of conscience," Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) said. "My conscience tells me we should ease people's pain and suffering, and give them hope. . .God knows they have suffered enough."But Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester) argued the bill's language is too broad, and could replicate the kinds of abuses seen in San Diego and Los Angeles, "where some doctors are giving marijuana essentially for every ailment they could think of" -- from premenstrual syndrome, attention deficit disorder and schizophrenia, Madden said. Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) said the legislation would "make sense" if it had been written to benefit the most "severely debilitated patients" like the terminally ill. As is, however, "it's the wrong thing for people in New Jersey and the wrong thing for our children," he said. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 22-16 with two abstentions. "God bless them," Stephen Cuspilich, a 46-year-old Burlington County man diagnosed with Crohn's disease, said immediately after the vote. Should the measure become law, he said access to legal marijuana would enable him to stop taking five of the sick medications he requires to control cramping and nausea caused by the chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. As someone who has used the illegal drug to quell nausea and other symptoms associated with the chronic lung and digestive disease cystic fibrosis, Gareth Muchmore, a 22-year-old man from Vernon, said he prefers government to be involved with the testing and regulation of medical marijuana.  Snipped   Complete Article: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)Author:  Susan K. Livio, The Star-Ledger Published: Monday February 23, 2009Copyright: 2009 Newark Morning Ledger Co.Contact: eletters starledger.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Coalition for Medical Marijuana Votes Today To Legalize Med Marijuana Marijuana Act Passes NJ Panel
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on February 24, 2009 at 10:27:49 PT
Charmed Quark
What a rejoicing that must have been!I'm happy with you and you, too, OverwhelmSam.
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Comment #5 posted by bhones on February 24, 2009 at 05:42:33 PT:
Get over it!
I wish people that don't want too smoke marijuana would just shut up and get out of the way. They keep comming up with the same, lame BS. Any intelligent person nows that taking marijuana out of criminal hand will make it safer for kids, for patiants and those who do not smoke. You will need an ID; let's not forget that drug dealers don't ask for one and it will be cleaner; right now you don't know what your getting. Let's face it, it's not going away so let's tax and regulate. After all isn't that what the government's good at?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 23, 2009 at 19:10:39 PT
charmed quark 
I'm really happy for you! Onward and upward we go!
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Comment #3 posted by charmed quark on February 23, 2009 at 19:08:23 PT
onward to the assembly
I was nearly shaking waiting for the votes to come in today. I was watching the board in the senate and counting the votes. When it hit 21 and we knew it had passed it was all we could do not to whoop and get kicked out of the building.One Republican said he wouldn't vote for it because 15 years of studies showed it destroyed brain cells! But Madden saying that too many people would use it for "just pain" almost made me jump up and boo.Well, now it's on to the state Assembly...
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on February 23, 2009 at 17:39:40 PT
Woo Hoo
Another One Bites the Dust:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 23, 2009 at 17:28:33 PT
Thinking Too Much
It seems they think too much. I wish they would let the people do the thinking and that they would listen to the people. That would be nice.
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