Pubdate: Mon, 18 Jan 2010
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2010 Asbury Park Press
Author: Jim Miller


It was incredible to stand with medical marijuana patients at the
Statehouse when the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana bill passed.
("Medical marijuana bill approved in Legislature," Jan. 12.) I have
been involved with this for 18 years, and so many people have
suffered, waiting for this day.

My wife died six years ago after a 32-year battle with multiple
sclerosis. For almost a decade, she did everything she could to try to
tell her state legislators how marijuana helped ease her spasticity
and pain. But Assemblymen James Holzapfel and David Wolfe, as well as
Sen. Andrew Ciesla, all R-Ocean, refused to even meet with her.
Holzapfel led the charge against the bill on the Assembly floor. He
talked about the association of needle exchange, reining in drug free
school zones and medical marijuana.

Most disconcerting was seeing three patients being introduced on the
floor behind the Assembly members. One is terminally ill with ALS.
Holzapfel refused to turn to look at her or even acknowledge her
presence. Minutes later he stood and spoke of how we all have
compassion for people who are seriously ill and dying before offering
outdated statements from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and
the American Medical Association. He might be surprised to learn that
the MS Society now says marijuana may slow the progression of multiple

Ciesla offered the biggest surprise of the day. He changed his
previous "no" vote on the Senate version of our medical marijuana bill
to "yes" in the concurrence vote. I appreciate his change of heart.

Jim Miller

Toms River
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