|New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn’t sympathetic to severely sick children.|
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent most of the day Monday with his wife Pat, and his good buddy, and fellow Jersey boy, Jon Bon Jovi at Borough Hall in Sayreville, N.J. They gathered in front of a hand-chosen crowd to celebrate a very generous one million dollar donation made by the rock-star to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which is chaired by the Governor’s wife. So that explains why two out of the three were there, at least.
Meanwhile, it has been five days since we last reported on recently approved changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws that would help extremely sick kids get access to cannabis if needed. The Democrats who lead the state legislature pushed the bill to the Governor’s desk on June 25th, or two weeks ago, where it sits waiting for the Governor’s signature. But c’mon, its Bon frickin JOVI!
New Jersey’s medical marijuana laws are incredibly restrictive, as Governor/2016 Presidential-hopeful Christie continually uses the issue as a punching bag to build his Conservative cred. The Governor points to states like California, where he says looser cannabis laws have only allowed “potheads” to get their “drug” more easily. I’m sure he thinks we’re all too lazy as well.
In New Jersey, there are only six dispensaries state-wide, and they are limited in what they can and cannot offer to patients. They can only offer up to three different strains, and everything offered must be grown in-house by the dispensary. Also, edibles are not allowed under New Jersey state cannabis laws, and high-CBD extracts and topical ointments are misunderstood and therefore over-scrutinized by the state. In the ultimate F-U to the people who need marijuana for medicinal purposes, the law prohibits patients from growing any weed at home.
It is this tangled web of hyper-regulation that endangers kids like Vivian Wilson who could see real benefits from cannabis, were that option made legal for her parents and doctors.
Stories like Vivian’s are cropping up all across the state, and not everyone is choosing to respect the new rules, which many consider too draconian to even consider.
Such is the case with a local resident who recently gave an in-depth interview to The Hudson Reporter.
The guy being interviewed asked to remain anonymous, but told much of his family’s story from the waiting room at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where his wife was in the midst of a grueling round of chemotherapy to combat a rare abdominal cancer. Having been diagnosed just over six months ago, the unforgiving chemo had dropped her bodyweight by 10% due to nausea and a diminished appetite.
“I was getting concerned because, of course, all of this was going to be followed by surgery and we had to be sure she would be strong enough to go through with that,” he said.
After looking into many alternative medications to ease his wife’s battle, they finally decided to enroll her in the state’s medical marijuana program. They hoped that, if nothing else, it would help her regain some of the lost weight, and give her some much needed strength for the upcoming surgery to remove her tumor. Sounds pretty legit, right? Pretty straightforward case it would seem.
First they had to establish an “ongoing relationship” with a doctor who specializes in palliative care. The state requires at least four separate visits be made to the doctor, which of course is not covered by conventional insurance plans.
So it began, a never-ending nickel and diming from the state in an attempt to find some relief for a truly sick adult. The four doctor visits amounted to just under $500 out of pocket for the couple. Then they had to get fingerprinted for an additional $75. They were each forced to get state-issued medical marijuana ID cards, at the cost of $205.40 apiece, but still had not been issued the prescription that would allow he and his wife to access the medicine she desired.
“I was trying to do this thing right,” the man says, defeated. “At this point, I’ve given up. I’ve given up any hope of getting help from the state through legal channels. I’ll just get what my wife needs illegally.
Governor Christie claims that there is “no crisis” in the state’s pot program, yet waiting lists are up to six months long for some patients. The main reason behind the delay is that there is only one “compassionate care center” approved to handle the entire state of New Jersey.
According to the Hudson Reporter article, only 114 patients have been approved by the center since December. A second center has been planned to open in Secaucus, but has not received its final approval from the state.
But hey man, its BON JOVI!
Governor Christie, do your constituents a favor and play “politics” on your own time. Respect democracy and get to work to open the bottleneck on approved care centers and sign the bill to help the kids.