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Jan-12-2010 08:22printcomments

New Jersey Passes Medical Marijuana Law

New Jersey becomes the 14th state to allow medicinal cannabis for patients.
New Jersey joins the ranks of legal medicinal cannabis states.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The New Jersey state legislature passed a law yesterday allowing seriously ill patients with certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with their doctor's recommendation.

Gov. Corzine has said he will sign the bill. This historic vote will make New Jersey the 14th state in the nation to protect from arrest sick and dying patients who are trying to relieve their symptoms with marijuana.

But in bordering New York, where seriously ill patients continue to suffer and live in fear, New York state lawmakers have so far failed to enact an urgently needed medical marijuana law that would treat patients with compassion and dignity.

“I still don't understand why New York won't let me use the medicine that I find works best to treat my disease and manage my pain,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, M.D., a Saugerties, New York resident and forensic psychiatrist who suffers from several auto-immune illnesses and used marijuana to treat his condition while visiting the Netherlands.

“After I used marijuana, I was able to sleep through the night for the first time in 20 years. To have legal access to that type of relief would be nothing short of life-changing.”

To avoid breaking state law, Smith says he does not currently use marijuana. “After all the testimonies from patients like me, saying that marijuana works when other medications don't, and all the studies and medical experts that have come out and said marijuana is a safe and effective medication-why does New York state still think patients deserve to be treated like criminals for treating their symptoms with what works best?”

New York's twin medical marijuana bills, S. 4041-B and A. 9016, are pending in the Senate and Assembly health committees. The Assembly passed medical marijuana legislation in 2007 and 2008, but the issue has not gotten a Senate floor vote.

For the first time, a Senate medical marijuana bill passed the Senate Health Committee in 2009, but progress stalled because of the Senate leadership struggle, which lasted until just before the legislature recessed.

Source: MPP (Marijuana Policy Project)

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.