New Jersey: Migraine, Chronic Pain Patients Seek Approval To Use Medical Marijuana
by Derrick Stanley
A health department panel in New Jersey will consider adding chronic pain and other ailments to the state's list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.
The public is invited to attend and make comments at the hearing scheduled for February 22. The panel will consist of eight doctors, pharmacists, and nurses who were appointed by Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett nearly one year ago.
“I think cannabis can replace all three of the medications I take for anxiety, migraines, and chronic pain,” said Bob Kane, 56, a retired landscaper from Ocean View who had his family doctor write letters to the department supporting his request in three petitions he submitted.
68 people sent petitions to the panel. Migraines, autism, lupus, and opiate-addiction disorder were some of the 20 or so ailments mentioned in the petitions.
The medical marijuana program currently allows patients who have terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, glaucoma, and several other conditions to obtain cannabis if recommended by their doctor.
Governor Chris Christie had said he was against increasing the program and promised to veto any bills that would expand the list or loosen the regulations. However, in September he signed a bill that added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list after veterans lobbied for the action.
Testimony will be limited to three minutes per person according to the health department.
The panel will post its decision on the department’s website and invite public comment for 60 days after the hearing. The panel will then make recommendations to the commissioner, who will make the final decision on what conditions will be added to the list.