The health commissioner of New Jersey has put in place a panel that will decide whether various ailments should be included in the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in the state, Philly.com reports.
Patients and advocates have been working for nearly four years to get more ailments added to the list of conditions, arguing that the list is severely restrictive and penalizes sick citizens who have no other viable recourse to obtain effective treatment.
Currently, the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in New Jersey includes multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, cancer associated with severe or chronic pain, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and terminal illnesses. Patients can purchase up to two ounces of cannabis each month with a recommendation from a qualified physician.
Patient advocates hope to see chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions added to that list.
Governor Chris Christie has repeatedly stated that he is opposed to any legislation that would expand the medical cannabis program, which he fears is a ploy to move toward legalizing recreational marijuana.
Ken Wolski, who heads the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, said that although he is glad the panel has been formed, he doesn’t expect much to come of it, noting that the panel members lack the requisite expertise in medical cannabis.
Only one of the five doctors on the panel, Cheryl A. Kennedy, is among those who recommend medical cannabis to patients. Only 450 doctors in New Jersey currently participate in the medical cannabis program.
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