1,000 signatures reached
To: New Jersey state Senator Nicholas Scutari and New Jersey state Assemblyman Herb Conaway, MD
Let Patients Grow NJ
This petition is to urge Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22) and state Assemblyman Herb Conaway, MD (D-7) to author and introduce in their respective houses stand-alone bills to allow medical cannabis patients registered in the state to possess and grow at least six cannabis plants.
We would like it in honor of medical cannabis patient, advocate, and activist, Jeff Oakes, who has been battling for medicinal cannabis access while battling stage 4 cancer and has an unlimited cannabis recommendation that he cannot realistically obtain through buying from ATCs alone.
Although Jake’s Law passed over a year ago, many provisions to expand access have not been enacted and although the Department of Health maintains that there is no shortage of cannabis, there have been and currently are limits on what patients can purchase and what ATCs offer.
ATCs have had limited hours, limited dates for appointments, and some patients have been turned away without getting anything.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, patients, many of which are immuno-compromised, have had to wait in long lines, many times for hours, sometimes in extreme temperatures and without access to restroom facilities. Some patients can barely endure the car ride, let alone sitting for hours as not all patients have caregivers who can help.
If this legislation is not introduced by election day 11/3/20 and the cannabis legalization ballot amendment passes, then, Senator Nicholas Scutari, the legislature must include provisions to allow patients or caregivers to possess and grow at least six cannabis plants 12 per household in the legalization implementation legislation or introduce and pass a stand-alone bill #JeffsLaw for these provisions.
If the ballot does not pass, we expect medical cannabis home cultivation legislation to be heard and passed by the legislature within the year to ensure legislators’ commitment to medical cannabis patients and their basic access to this plant.
Illinois had 21 cultivators and 37 dispensaries when the adult-use law went into effect and shortages on cannabis are projected for a year or more. These numbers are double of what New Jersey has now. The Chicago Tribune reported positively that some patients there have found relief in being able to grow their own.
Some conditions such as epilepsy, staved off by cannabis, cannot have breaks in supply otherwise debilitating, dangerous seizures can easily return, which can impact patients’ whole lives. Many patients also need specific strains that ATCs don’t or won’t carry. Registered patients possessing their own cannabis plants should not be a crime and the law should protect them.
We also urge Assemblyman Herb Conaway, MD and Senator Nicholas Scutari to have a virtual meeting with Ken Wolski, RN, co-founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey (501c3 non-profit), to ensure patients' concerns are addressed on this issue.
Why is this important?
In the original Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), New Jersey registered medicinal marijuana patients were to be allowed possession of six mature medicinal cannabis plants, but these provisions were unceremoniously removed by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, MD in his capacity as Chairman of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.
Because of this uncompassionate move, the medical cannabis program was greatly hampered and patients had no legal access to this medicine for years.
Patients were asked to wait until Governor Christie was gone to revisit home cultivation. He's been gone, along with 4,000 registered medical cannabis patients who could not outlast the delays.
Ten years since CUMMA was enacted, there is still a major lack in affordable access, with ongoing shortages of legal medicinal cannabis and delays of licensing of the state's alternative treatment centers. Many patients also have issues with the quality of alternative treatment center products.
Registered patients and their caregivers need to be allowed to grow their own medicine legally. It is affordable healthcare and a truly equitable provision that every legislator can and should get behind.
Patients need to have legal access to their own medicinal cannabis plants, for affordability, availability, quality control, and gardening therapy. Many will suffer and die waiting for the state to expand it's compassionate program to make it affordable and available, especially for terminal patients who are now recommended unlimited supply for their condition. They were told to wait a decade ago and then again a year ago. Waiting on this is the opposite of compassionate. No more waiting.
#JeffsLaw #LetPatientsGrow #HomeGrowNow #TheyShallGrow