October 1, 2014

Ninety New Jersey Doctors in Nation’s First Marijuana Registry

Sandy Fiaola, NJ multiple sclerosis patient

6/13/11 by Chris Goldstein -  A check with the NJ Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) today revealed that ninety (90) physicians are currently registered in a unique program for medical marijuana. New Jersey is the first in the country to require that doctors complete special requirements and register with the state to recommend cannabis.

The scheme is following a set of regulations proposed by Governor Chris Christie’s administration. After eighteen months of steady delays, the rules have not been officially finalized. The NJ Legislature took the rare move to pass a resolution stating that the regulations are working against the intent of the compassionate use law.

Physicians around the state loudly criticized the registry that requires training in addictive medicines. The former DHSS Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh testified before the NJ Senate Health Committee in March that there were no similar requirements for other drugs. This may explain why only 90 doctors out of more than 30, 000 who practice in New Jersey are participating in the medicinal marijuana program.

Under the extreme NJ regulations patients must have a registered doctor to begin the process of entering the cannabis program. The patient must also choose one of six Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) sites because they are not allowed to cultivate at home. Once the application is approved by DHSS the patient will be issued an ID card.

The number of registered medical marijuana patients in New Jersey is currently zero.  Although some multi-million dollar facilities have been approved there are none open. The ATCs are not even building their facilities after Governor Christie and state Attorney General Paula Dow started questioning the inherent (and legislatively approved) conflicts with federal law.

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed in January of 2010, a final act in Jon Corzine’s term as governor.  The Democrat Corzine lost a second term to Republican Chris Christie in a closely contested election. During a TV debate Christie, a former US Attorney (federal prosecutor), seemed to have a change of heart saying that he supported medical marijuana in “concept.”

But since gaining office Governor Christie has taken a harder line. This approach is leaving the patients of at least ninety specially qualified NJ physicians, approved under the strictest rules in the country, without legal access to a medical therapy they need.

Some potentially qualifying patients have struggled to find doctors already registered, but the list is not public. Even more of the local NJ patients say that they have given up on the program. They have cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV or other serious conditions and access the ubiquitous underground marijuana market instead.

Therapeutic cannabis is only legal on paper in New Jersey and it may stay on the page for some time longer. Medical professionals, especially those in hospice care, can only have the personal compassion to fulfill the law – looking the other way as patients and their families risk arrest.

Grassroots link: The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ)

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com


Comments

  1. Because I have multiple sclerosis for over 14 years, my family of 5 all rely on my personal use of medial marijuana. It has taken me over 10 years to find a single doctor that was registered or willing to speak about this therapy and I didnt find him until I appeared on “The Dr Oz Show” last April. By attending the show with Montel Williams I was then able to find a single registered Dr that would write my recomendation to the NJ DHHS on April 1, 2011. I still have not recieved any notification from the state that my application was being processed or I would reiceve an ID Card. So I am forced to risk my life in the underground market controlled primarily by gang members. It’s not right to do this to anyone this sick. It’s just not right!

    Sincerly,

    Charles Kwiatkowski
    Father of 3
    MS patient 14 years.

    Monmouth County, NJ

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  2. Marijuana doctor says:

    hi,,

    nice information about medical marijuana patients….and i got some news related to medical marijuana act and rules….thanks

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  3. gigi says:

    HI. i would love the name of the doctors. It is so difficult. I also have chronic pain. Would love to apply for the card. Thanks.

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  4. chuck mackey says:

    people r suffering needlessly do 2 bureaucratic sp, b/s. no other meds has been so scutinized as marijuana,
    wichisnt even a drug, its a plant. get on the stik,christie, delayed justice is denied justice!!

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  5. chuck mackey says:

    gov. christie, if u dont starting doing the the peoples business, ur goin 1 b a 1 term, governor. i promise u

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  6. carri says:

    I have had chronic pain for ten years…the doctors just give me scripts for oxycontin which is much more addicting then marijuana ..makes no senseq

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  7. Lisa says:

    I would like to find a Dr. to issue me a card. I have Insomnia, arthritis in my tailone of my spine, knees, I also have Fybermyalgia. Are here any Dr.’s out there to get a card?

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  8. MMM says:

    HELLO DR.
    BOTTOM LINE IS I SUFFER WITH DOCUMENTED MULTIPLE ILLNISSIES FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS: ASTHMA, HEART MURMUR, TIETZES DISEASE, SCIATICA, ARTERIOSIROSIS, BONE DISEASE, HI CHOLESTEROL, DIABETES, ANERXERIA, DEPRESSION AND CHRONIC PAIN. i HAD SEVERE FOOD POISONING EARLIER IN MY LIFE. bEFORE I KNEW i NEEDED A DR’S CARE I FOUND RELIEF FROM MARIJUANA JUST TO STAY ALIVE. nOW THAT I GET MEDICATION FROM A DR. I SUFFER WITH NUMEROUS SIDE EFFECTS ESPECIALLY SEVERE NAUSEA FROM THE 9 DIFFERENT PILLS I TAKE. WOULD I BE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICINAL MARIJUANA IN NEW JERSEY AS I’M TRIED OF TAKING ALL THESE PILLS.

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  9. George says:

    I don’t have access to any marijuana, medicinal or underground, and I really don’t forsee Governor Christie allowing the use of medical marijuana anytime soon, but I do know that I have a choice as to WHO not to vote for when election time rolls around! I am sure that he’s holding out on this issue til election time so he can use it to false promises for re-election. Remember, WE vote them into office to serve our needs and not us thiers. I may never get approved for an ID card, but I CAN vote for whom ever I want and so can you.

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  10. Hope says:

    Charles,
    I, too, need medicinal marijuana. I suffer with a broken back, spinal osteoarthritis, scoliosis, bulging discs, soft tissue damage beyond repair, insomnia, depression, anxiety, PTSD and a bone island in my left SI joint (a bone island is a “tumor” and mine is benign, but they can go malignant at anytime)…oh yea, and fibromyalgia.
    My life is easier with medicinal marijuana and I need a doctor to help me. My pain management doctors test for marijuana and I will be kicked out of the program if I test positive twice. It’s totally ridiculous!
    Charle, you said that you have found a doctor. I have seen a couple people on this forum ask for the name of the doctor, yet you have not. If more people petition the DHSS with a recommendation from a doctor then maybe something can be done. It only takes a few voices. Email me if you don’t want to give out his/her name on this forum.

    Thank you,
    Hope

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