Jan 19 2010

New Jersey delivers crushing defeat for medical marijuana

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Ed Glick addresses Patients Out of Time, April 2006


While many in the medical marijuana community and elsewhere are hailing New Jersey’s enactment of a law regarding medical marijuana as a victory, in fact, it is a defeat.

The largest demographic of medical marijuana patients are those who use it for pain, about 60%.  The second largest demographic is those who use it for psychiatric conditions, including:  anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  In California, about 30% of medical marijuana patients use it for psychiatric conditions.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, by excluding pain and psychiatric conditions, will impact about 4% of New Jersey’s medical marijuana patients. In other words, about 96% of New Jersey’s medical marijuana patients got screwed.

That is a crushing defeat.

A Google News search on "medical marijuana" and "new jersey" gives 1,675 hits.  And most of them are claiming "Medical marijuana now legal in New Jersey".

Oregon, where medical marijuana "became legal" by ballot initiative in 1998, has a short list of allowed conditions and an approval process for adding new conditions similar to that of New Jersey.  To date, 12 years after medical marijuana became legal in Oregon, the only psychiatric condition approved there is Alzheimer’s Rage.  Persistent attempts to add PTSD and other psychiatric conditions to their list have been denied.

Oregon medical marijuana patients with psychiatric conditions find themselves in the absurd and tenuous position of obtaining marijuana for medical use through recommendations for the nausea and/or diarrhea that are "side-effects" of virtually all the anti-depressants and other psychoactive pharmaceuticals.

Recent studies have determined that the most prescribed of these pharmaceuticals, the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), work no better than a sugar pill or placebo for depression, and that when patients appear to improve on these pharmaceuticals the improvement is actually because of the human contact and attention they received during the clinical trials.

Meanwhile, state and local governments across the board are prohibiting consumption of medical marijuana at dispensaries and in public, apparently with the blessing of the hired guns leading the medical marijuana movement. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that neither the dispensaries nor the organizations claiming to advocate for medical marijuana patients give a hoot whether severely ill medical marijuana patients are denied their 1st Amendment right to peaceably assemble and the clinically demonstrated benefits of socialization and human contact – benefits which have been demonstrated to be sufficient to get FDA approval for pills that could cause you to shoot up a school-yard.

Fox News, among others, announced years ago that the SSRIs and SNRIs produce manic psychosis, sleep-walking, and suicidal/homicidal ideation in 5% or more of those who take them.  Further, that if someone should find themselves flipping out because of these pharmaceuticals, they cannot get off them because they experience debilitating electric shocks ("The Zaps") when they try to quit.

Meanwhile, 12 years after "legalizing" medical marijuana, Oregon continues to prohibit the medical use of marijuana for psychiatric conditions other than Alzheimer’s Rage.

In August the Salem News announced that Glick and Berger were scheduled to petition the Oregon Board again to add Clinical Depression, Depressive Symptoms, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Severe Anxiety, Agitation and Insomnia to the list of approved conditions.

According to Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse:  "Public input was only allowed at the last hearing and the room was packed, forcing the meeting to extend two hours past its original schedule. Unfortunately the vote was 4-3 against adding any of the conditions. Dr. Mel Kohn, the state health officer, is to review the report and rebuttal and make a recommendation to Dr. Bruce Goldberg, the head of DHS for his decision."

For more info:
MAMA Looks Back on 2009 – Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, Winter 2010
Oregon activist wants PTSD Added to Medical Marijuana Program – Salem News.com, 12 Aug 09
Oregon PTSD Action Center – Mercy Medical Cannabis Resource Center


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