I am writing this letter with great concern and frustration due to the Christie Administration's lack of transparency as to the process in which the Department of Health and Senior Services is writing regulations to implement NJ’s Medical Marijuana law. The program is now facing delays due to Gov. Christie's lack of interest in complying with the will of our elected legislators, preventing it from going into effect in July. I have to live with Multiple Sclerosis today, not tomorrow. I am sick right now and therefore I need medicine now. I  spent countless hours throughout the entire legislative process struggling for the right to legally access medicine and now fear that myself and other patients have been disenfranchised by the Governor of the right we worked so hard to gain.

My major concern is that the DHSS progress on implementation has so far between held entirely behind closed doors and is therefore highly questionable. I was told the process would be highly transparent and include patients, doctors, scientists and patient advocates. It hasn't been. The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, a patient advocacy group who offered to share their expertise and knowledge free-of-charge was recently told that they would not allow anyone outside of the DHSS to be involved with the implementation process. How could the DHSS have never even recorded ANY ACTUAL START DATE? Not any start date of implementation or anything like that, just when did it all begin? It has all been kept so secret that patients were never even informed of any of its process AT ALL!  A start date? For their fact-finding to occur? One of the largest supporters of medical marijuana, now ex-Republican State Senator Bill Baroni was appointed to become Deputy Executive Director of the NJ/NY Port Authority by Gov. Christie and now has no say in the legistative matters. This seems like an unusual sudden random change of career for someone whose background and areas of expertise fall primarily with the realms of law, education and the arts.

Maybe the delays are related to the fact that the new DHSS commissioner appointed by Gov. Christie is Dr. Poonham Aligh - the former national medical head of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline?

As for all of NJ’s sick or terminally ill residents that could benefit from medical marijuana this summer, my forecast appears to be all sleep, all morphine or oxycontin.  It looks like we’ll continue to listen to crickets chirp in bed while the Christie Administration finds more room to make excuses delay what was already the strictest law in the Nation.

As time passes by, I will become paralyzed from MS. I want to be able to live life to the fullest before that happens.

Medical Marijuana is the only thing that gives me the opportunity to have the same quality of life that everyone else takes for the granted.

Hope to see you all at the beach someday, if Gov. Christie lets me.

 

Charles Kwiatkowski
Hazlet, NJ