Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Peter J. Barnes, III, Annette Quijano, Reed Gusciora and Tim Eustace to allow patients registered for New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana program to be able to receive needed medical care, including organ transplantation, was approved 33-5 by the full Senate on Thursday.
“Now that this program is beginning to operate, it’s important that we protect patients desperately in need of this assistance,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “This will help ensure that the law cannot be misconstrued to hold these patients liable so that they receive the care they need.”
The bill (A-765) supplements the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” enacted in 2009 to stipulate that a registered qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to using any other prescribed medication and not the use of an illicit substance that would otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from needed medical care, including organ transplantation.
“Many of the patients seeking relief under our medical marijuana law are terminally ill or suffering from unimaginable pain,” said Quijano (D-Union). “The last thing they need is to have their medical needs denied because of a misinterpretation of the law.”
“The original law was enacted to ease the suffering for patients that have not found relief through traditional means,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), one of the sponsors of the original law. “This will help ensure that they receive the treatment they need and are not penalized under the law.”
“Those that qualify for our medical marijuana program are some of the most terminally or chronically ill patients in our state,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “While medical marijuana helps ease their pain, it does not directly treat their illnesses so we need to ensure that they are not denied the treatment they desperately need.”