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The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey

Debunking the myths

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Very interesting bit from Terry Stern, a member of the Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, NJ.  I like it so much I may ask him to write a weekly piece.

CHRISTIE MYTHS and how to answer them

Christie Myth: Marijuana is a gateway, therefore medical marijuana will lead to dangerously increased hard drug use.

In a study commissioned by The White House, the Institute of Medicine shaved this shaggy dog naked years ago. Those who make such claims are confusing cause with correlation. People who use harder drugs often also used marijuana first. But they also often used alcohol, tobacco, hand soap and underwear before hard drugs as well, none of which are blamed for their harder drug use. The Institute of Medicine concluded that marijuana didn’t even make the list of top causes for hard drug use. This claim is stamped “fraud”.

Christie Myth: Marijuana smoke is deadlier than tobacco smoke. Any potential benefit is offset by its carcinogenic qualities.

Dr. Donald Tashkin, a leading pulmonologist, found that even regular and heavy smoking of marijuana does not lead to lung cancer. In fact, daily cannabis users not only showed a huge reduction of risk compared with tobacco smokers, they showed a slightly reduced risk of contracting lung cancer compared with total non-smokers. It seems counterintuitive, yet it is the case. And cannabis does not need to be inhaled as smoke in any event. This claim is stamped “fraud”.

Christie Myth: Allowing the medical use of marijuana will send the wrong message to children and lead to more teens using the drug.

Of 13 medical marijuana states which have before-and-after data, some show increased use, some show decreased among teens. Teens also decreased and increased usage In states with no data or no programs. The conclusion of the study by the University of Wisconsin is that there is no correlation between medical marijuana programs and teen marijuana use. This claim is stamped “fraud”.

Christie Myth: Supporting medical marijuana is politically risky.

Across the country, public support for medical marijuana is strong and steadily rising. It cuts across demographic and party lines. More than 78% of Americans support medical cannabis. New Jersey’s figure is 85%. It would, rather, seem politically risky to stand against medical marijuana. This claim is stamped “desperate”.

It's LAW, baby!

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 Recently, our efforts appear to be gaining traction. We have asked for, and received, an amendment to the guidelines (as law) to abolish the three strain limit (dispensaries can grow what they want, and better serve the patient), and allow for a simpler approach to treating children (such as Jennie Storms son and Meghan and Brian Wilson's daughter, in addition to Tina DeSilvia and; both of these children suffer from intractable seizures which cannabis HELPS).

If you read just the headlines, you could form the opinion that our Governor, Chris Christie, has come to his senses and determined that the scientific findings are sound enough to make policy decisions on. However, we on the front lines can offer a different opinion. Yes, the Governor has appeared to relent under pressure from his constituents. Some count this as a victory, but it is a dual-edged victory. Certainly the Governor sees the political equity in this issue. He wants to appear to be meeting the needs of his contituents. However, after repeated requests to sit down with him and educate him, it doesn't appear that such a meeting is forthcoming.

Terry Stern, a respected member of the Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, NJ, had this to say in a recent op-ed: In all the flap about medical cannabis in New Jersey, a moderately plump elephant in the room is getting very little attention.

Statistics gathered from all states with medical cannabis programs show the national average of cannabis patients is 7.7 per thousand population.

There are states with as high a number as 14 per thousand and states as low as 3.

And then there’s New Jersey, which has one patient per 3,000 population. That’s like a car tracking gas usage in gallons per mile.

Unless we can show why living in New Jersey is a whole lot healthier than living anywhere else, there ought to be approximately 50,000 to 60,000 medical cannabis patients in a population this size.

Where are all the patients?

TERRY H. STERN

Pennsauken

What Mr. Stern is alluding to is that the very guidelines of the program implemented by Governor Christie is the impediment to getting patients enrolled in the program and receiving the medicine they need. Those guidelines have literally choked the life out of what would have been the strictest program in the states that have adopted medical cannabis programs. In a state with the population we have, 6 dispensaries are not enough. Currently, the one dispensary we have operating has closed its doors for lack of product. Where are the other five? Of those 1200 or so registered patients, only about 10 percent have been able to secure product under the program's guidelines, legally. So, Mr. Stern poses a very pertinent question: where are the patients? I can tell you only about my personal experience: my condition (failed back surgery, spinal cord stimulator implanted, 14 year relationship with my doctor, 10 years on narcotic pain killers) does not qualify. Nor do the vast variety of other conditions that could benefit by using cannabis. I have a prescription for Marinol, which i take 10mgs three times a day. It's fairly expensive, about $2500 per month. Why should I be relegated to take a THC-only pill when it's been scientifically proven that the other components of cannabis are much better suited to deal with pain? Because of our Governor's guidelines. Like it, or not, Governor, THIS is your program. If you had just implemented the law and not had the DHSS draw up the guidelines, you may have been able to side-step that. But, you didn't. You, in conjuction with the DHSS, have made the program unworkable. Where are the patients? We're waiting for a sign from the Governor that we will be able to get the medicine we need in a timely manner.

-- Jim Price, CMMNJ website administrator, non-qualifying patient and cannabis activist

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About CMM-NJ

Coalition members hold diverse opinions, but we all agree:
Arresting patients is wrong, and it must stop now.


Modern clinical research, centuries of experience and the impassioned personal accounts of thousands of real patients concur: Marijuana can alleviate symptoms of certain serious medical conditions, and it can do so when other drugs fail to help. Doctors should be free to recommend this medicine to promote health, and sick or injured New Jerseyans should be free to use it responsibly. The safety margin for therapeutic marijuana is as wide as it can be - there is no known lethal dose.

New Jersey healthcare professionals dispense potentially lethal drugs every day. We trust them to do so very carefully, and solely to benefit their patients. Common sense and compassion demand that doctors should control non-lethal marijuana medicine for those who truly need it. To make this important change a reality, your voice is needed.

 


The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was introduced in the State Senate in January 2005 by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden). A companion bill in the Assembly was sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) and Assemblyman Michael Carroll (R-Morris Township).

The law passed by both houses of the Legislature in  December 2009 and was signed January 11,  2010.

 

On December 6, 2012, medical marijuana finally began to be available to patients in New Jersey who have enrolled in the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP).  Marijuana is being sold on an appointment-only basis from Greenleaf Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) in Montclair, NJ.  Greenleaf is the only ATC in the state that is currently open.  

CMMNJ has free public meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at the Lawrence Twp. Library from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM. The library is at 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Twp., at the corner of Business Rt. 1 and Darrah Lane in Mercer County.  CMMNJ is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) public charity. Follow the Facebook page, Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ, at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/?ref=ts

Also, please join our Mailing List  and we'll keep you posted on important dates, news and ways you can help support the New Jersey patients and families who need your help. Thank you very much!

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 09:54

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