Dear Honorable Legislator,
I am a medical cannabis patient, 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.
Since being sidelined from my job due to Covid-19 I have not been able to afford to buy the cannabis that I rely on to control my pain… if I were able to legally grow a small number of cannabis plants… it would save me a lot of physical pain and financial hardship. I have suffered from chronic pain since being discharged from the US Army in 1981, and cannabis has been my saving grace and medical ally ever since… It has saved me from a life addicted to dangerous narcotic pain medications. It has eased the emotional pain of being sexually abused when I was a child. I could go on… The relief it has brought me over a lifetime has even kept me from ending my own life… Law Enforcement on the other hand, have caused me only financial distress due to paying fines after being caught with small amounts of cannabis, plus the physical pain of being hauled around in handcuffs… All this governmental bad will for the offense of seeking a little “well being” and relief from physical pain seems draconian to a man who considers cannabis a large part of his pursuit of happiness.
Gary M. Sage