Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 2009
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Record
Author: Meagan Johnson


To the Editor:

Your column ("Brave call on marijuana from Carroll,  Pennacchio," Fred
Snowflack column, Feb. 25) in support  of the medical marijuana
legislation which passed the  Senate on Feb. 23 highlights the need
for the Assembly  Health Committee to post Assembly Bill No. 804, the 
Compassionate Use Act, for a hearing as soon as  possible. Seriously
ill people in New Jersey can't wait  any longer for the Assembly to
move this important bill  to the governor's desk.

Each year thousands of New Jerseyans are diagnosed with  life
threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS,  and multiple
sclerosis. The symptoms and suffering  caused by these illnesses can
be devastating;  especially when for some patients, currently
available  medicines do not offer relief. For these patients,  medical
marijuana may offer hope for relief from  terrible symptoms such as
pain, nausea, loss of  appetite and wasting.

The effectiveness of medical marijuana in relieving  such symptoms was
confirmed by a 1999 study by  Congressionally chartered Institute of
Medicine.  Allowing patients access to medical marijuana has been 
endorsed by numerous medical and professional  organizations
nationally, and in the state of New  Jersey, by groups including the
New Jersey State Nurses  Association, New Jersey Academy of Family
Physicians,  New Jersey League for Nursing, New Jersey Hospice and 
Palliative Care Organization, and the New Jersey  chapters of the
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

A 2006 poll also found that 86 percent of New Jerseyans  support
allowing access to medical marijuana.

Compassion and common sense dictate that doctors be  allowed to
recommend, and patients be allowed to  access, the medicine best able
to relieve suffering and  improve quality of life.

Meagan Johnson Policy Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance

New Jersey
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