Initial Form Letter
Sent: Saturday, March 28, 2020 9:41 PM To: Dancer, Asm. D.O. <AsmDancer@njleg.org> Subject: Patient Home Cultivation
Dear Honorable Legislator,
I am a medical cannabis (patient, supporter) and I am YOUR constituent. I have extreme concern that needs your immediate attention.
Many New Jersey medical cannabis patients are already chronically unable to afford an uninterrupted supply of their recommended amount of cannabis from an "essential" dispensary. That is primarily due to medical marijuana having a "cash only" payment policy for overly-priced medicine that insurance doesn't cover.
New Jersey Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) had run low and limited purchase amounts of favored, effective strains before, but this has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Normally crowded dispensaries are facing overcrowded conditions, making social distancing especially hard on the many patients with limited mobility. There have been patients turned away after waiting all day and some ATCs have limited hours now or have closed indefinitely.
The only current legal method of obtaining medical cannabis is through pick-up by patient or registered caregiver, which increases the chances of patients getting exposed to the virus. Home delivery provisions that passed under "Jake's Law" almost nine months ago are still not available to patients and many patients will be running out of medicine due to this crisis and additional conditions that will continue to emerge. Although the Department of Health are doing what they can to improve the situation, with the uncertainty of what may come and a financial crisis on top of an already cost prohibitive situation, it will not be enough.
Patients are losing their jobs and financial concerns will make patients increasingly vulnerable to medical relapse due to insufficient medication.
Currently, we are considering letting doctors and nurses graduate early to be on the front lines. We are making temporary hospitals out of whatever we can, wherever we can, and however we can. We are considering commandeering private business to get jobs done.
Unfortunately, the current state and national "all hands on deck" mentality seems to leave medical cannabis patients out of the current push for "out of the box" solutions. Medical cannabis patients have been saying that they feel as if they have been treated as second class patients by many legislators in NJ for a long time. The truth will finally be visible through legislators' responses to this plea. New Jersey owes it to its medical cannabis patients to seriously consider ways to allow them to start growing their own essential medicine in the Garden State.
The legislature should immediately amend the Compassionate Use Act (CUMCA) to allow medical cannabis patients to possess and grow up to six cannabis plants, just as the New Jersey Senate voted they should be allowed to do in the Compassionate Use bill, on Feb.23, 2009 by a vote of 22-16.
The Attorney General should enact a moratorium on arrests of patients growing their own essential medicine and the legislature should at least decriminalize it in emergency legislation scheduled.
This is essential access.
Patients can get clones, plants or seeds from ATCs and they are already registered with the department for verification.
What perceived adverse effects that some legislators say "might" happen, could possibly be worse than what IS about to happen to some patients if we don't do this?
That is not a rhetorical question. It is the one question I am asking you to directly answer in your response to me along with anything else you care to say on the matter. It is the crux of this letter. Time will provide the answer for all to see one way or the other and unfortunately for patients it won't be a long time.
This email and your reply, or lack thereof, will be posted on letpatientsgrownj.com, as all other legislators' responses to their constituent/patients will be. How you handle this request will be accessible for anybody who might want to know, which is the purpose of the website.
Please give me your immediate thoughts on this as you begin an actual "risk/benefit" analysis. I don't need to tell you how important it is to sick and dying patients for you to stay ahead curve on this.
Member Let Patients Grow NJ
__________________________ Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer’s Response Response received 3/30/20 at 1:37pm;
Thank you for your email regarding patient home cultivation. The legislature has authorized a ballot question for this November’s general election pertaining to adult recreational use and it will be determined by the voters. I also support expungement and decriminalization for non-violent crimes related to cannabis. Please be assured I will be considering your viewpoints when such legislation comes before me for a vote. As you may be aware, I have been an advocate and supporter of medical cannabis legislation.
Please feel free to contact me anytime I can be of assistance to you.
12th Legislative District
405 Route 539
Cream Ridge, NJ 08514
__________________________ Follow Up Email to Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer
Sent: 4/28/20 at 12:41am
To: Asm. D.O. Dancer (AsmDancer@njleg.org)
Subject: Re: Patient Home Cultivation;
Thank you for replying to my email. Your initial statement that my email was “regarding patient home cultivation” of medical cannabis by patients was accurate. However, you then went on to say “The legislature has authorized a ballot question for this November’s general election pertaining to adult recreational use and it will be determined by the voters”. Home cultivation of medical cannabis by NJ registered patients will not be determined by the voters with that ballot question. If it was on the ballot I would not have had to contact you.
Rather than asking you to read my initial email again, let me simply point out the core of my concern and quote myself, “New Jersey owes it to its medical cannabis patients to seriously consider ways to allow them to start growing their own essential medicine in the Garden State. The legislature should immediately amend the Compassionate Use Act (CUMCA) to allow medical cannabis patients to possess and grow up to six cannabis plants, just as the New Jersey Senate voted they should be allowed to do in the Compassionate Use bill, on Feb.23, 2009 by a vote of 22-16”.
THAT is what I want you to weigh in on please. I know how busy you must be, but your reply had nothing to do with my concern. I appreciate you saying “Please be assured I will be considering your viewpoints when such legislation comes before me for a vote. As you may be aware, I have been an advocate and supporter of medical cannabis legislation”. However, how will you be able to represent my viewpoints if you do not know what they are? We must be able to separate social use of cannabis concerns and medical cannabis concerns.
I summed my email up by asking “What perceived adverse effects that some legislators say ‘might’ happen, could possibly be worse than what IS about to happen to some patients if we don't do this?” I added “That is not a rhetorical question. It is the one question I am asking you to directly answer in your response to me along with anything else you care to say on the matter. It is the crux of this letter”.
I look forward to your reply. I would expect that you would have questions. If you like, I can put you in touch with those who have the answers that I rely on when I need accurate information. Both co-founders of the Coalition for Medical marijuana NJ (501c3) Ken Wolski RN ( email@example.com ), and Jim Miller ( firstname.lastname@example.org )are available to help you understand where things are now, how we got here, and what can be done to save patient lives where lack of affordability is affecting whole families. I am hoping COVID-19 taught us all that waiting on remediation of a health care issue can have disastrous consequences for our population’s most vulnerable citizens.
I just wanted to conclude this email by thanking you once again for your time and attention and mentioning an interesting coincidence I learned over the course of our correspondence, that we actually share the same birthday. I mention that only to point out that I am a person just like you, a fellow Gemini and a fellow resident of the state of New Jersey and I am hoping that this email is taken into serious consideration. I am optimistically hopeful that we can see eye to eye on these issues and make the changes necessary to move toward a brighter future.
Thanking you in advance for a timely reply,
Daniel C (District 12 resident and member of Let Patients Grow NJ)