Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey has launched the Compassionate Use Campaign to advocate for legislation that would allow seriously ill patients in New Jersey to have access to medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
Each year thousands of New Jerseyans are diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other life threatening illnesses. For some of these patients, currently available medications will not be effective in reducing terrible symptoms such as nausea, wasting, muscle spasms, and pain. Medical marijuana could ease suffering and improve the quality of life for these patients.
On December 15, 2008, New Jersey took a historic step forward towards allowing access to medical marijuana. The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee held the first voting hearing on Senate Bill 119 (there had been informational hearings in both the Senate and Assembly in the past). The Senate Health Committee voted the medical marijuana legislation out of committee by a six to one margin with two abstentions. The bill now moves to the floor of the full Senate for a vote.
The Compassionate Use Campaign supports Senate Bill No. 119 and Assembly Bill No. 804 which would allow seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana. Please join our growing list of members in the Compassionate Use Campaign by filling out and sending the Campaign Response Form or sign up online. Copies of our Campaign Fact Sheets are also available online.
We kicked off the Campaign with the release of polling that showed that 86% of New Jerseyans support allowing access to medical marijuana. We released the polling at a press conference featuring television personality, New York Times best-selling author and medical marijuana patient Montel Williams. The press conference also featured Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act sponsor, Senator Nicholas Scutari, Don and Gerry McGrath, parents of the late medical marijuana patient Sean McGrath. and longtime medical marijuana activist Jim Miller, whose late wife Cheryl suffered from multiple sclerosis. Medical marijuana provided some relief for Cheryl’s terrible symptoms and Cheryl, despite her deteriorating physical condition, dedicated the last years of her life to advocating for medical marijuana access in New Jersey.
Montel Williams returned to New Jersey to testify before the Senate Health and Senior Services Committee. In a committee room packed with supporters and press, Montel told the committee how medical marijuana relieved his symptoms and asked the senators to support the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.” Also testifying in favor of the act were the New Jersey State Nurses Association and the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians. Because the hearings were informational only, there was no vote on the legislation.
Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey is working hard to build our support coalition, educate legislators about medical marijuana, and advocate for consideration of the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” in the Senate and Assembly. Please join us in supporting Senate Bill No. 119 and Assembly Bill No. 804. Together we can make a difference and ease suffering in New Jersey!
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