MMJ Advocates Rally in Front of New Jersey Statehouse

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A group of about twenty-five protesters and MMJ advocates gathered in front of the New Jersey Statehouse today to greet lawmakers as they arrived for inaugural proceedings. The group of patients and citizens voiced concern for medical cannabis patients’ growing rights.

Cannabis advocates gathered to bring attention to the need for a homegrow provision in New Jersey’s cannabis policy. An active group of medical marijuana patients has been advocating for more access, compassionate laws, home grow, and decriminalization. They have done so for years in many ways, including podcasts, New Jersey Statehouse protests, and a strong online presence. For example, the group uses the hashtag #theyshallgrow, and can easily be found on Facebook and other social media.

Home Grow Rights Issues

In the recent cannabis bill proposed by Sen. Nick Scutari, grow rights were absent. Cultivating cannabis at home for medical or personal use would be prohibited. Although Scutari stated the bill might change, the legalization bill would prohibit patients’ homegrow of cannabis.

Coalition of Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) board member Peter Rosenfeld noted caregivers and patients were expecting home growing. That was until the provision was removed in 2009 from the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). Almost a decade later, the promises of a robust medical marijuana program have been broken.

Cannabis is likely to be legalized for recreational use in 2018 with the election of Governor Phil Murphy. It could lead to a supply issue for medical patients. Recreational use will be creating a much larger demand on an already strained dispensary inventory.

Legalization Issues

“The recreational marijuana bill that Senator Scutari may be introducing today will make the specific strain supply issue much worse. To the detriment of patients. Home cultivation is one way of alleviating this issue,” Rosenfeld said.

Ken Wolski RN, Executive Director of CMMNJ, “Home cultivation empowers patients to take charge of their own healthcare, to grow their own medicine for pennies and to choose the specific strains that best helps their medical conditions.” Unlike other medications, cannabis is not eligible for prescription drug coverage leading to exorbitant costs for patients which a home grow program would help make more affordable and attainable for many patients.
 

“As New Jersey moves on to full legalization of marijuana. We want legislators and Governor-elect Murphy to consider the needs of our state’s medical marijuana patients,” Rosenfeld added.

Many throughout the state are very excited about legalization. They believe Murphy won by a landslide mainly due to his campaigning for legalizing cannabis for recreational use if elected.

Nationwide, cannabis legalization is favored by over 61% of the population.

When New Jersey legalizes recreational cannabis,  the industry and the usage will grow and the patients, well,#theyshallgrow.
 
 
 

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