Dear Editor,

The Medical Marijuana regulations recently proposed by the state Department of Health and Senior Services are beginning to appear to be no more than a thinly-veiled scheme for the state to prevent seriously-ill patients from exercising their legal right to medical marijuana.

Under the regulations proposed, the medicine would be restricted to a very low 10% potency of THC, the medicine's main active ingredient. Such a poor quality medicine would result in patients needing to use 2-3 times the amount of medicine (which is limited under the law to only about 2 or 3 joints a day) to obtain the same level of relief provided by medical marijuana available in other states. This will result in patients running out of their medicine faster and being forced back into the black market.

Patients who reside within a school zone would be required to obtain complicated waivers to have medicine delivered to their home, in addition to an already difficult medical marijuana application process.

As most urban residents reside within a school zone, this would disproportionately prevent minority patients from accessing their medicine.

All of this red-tape is being added under the guise of preventing non-patients (particularly young people) from obtaining marijuana.

But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 42% of high school seniors have used marijuana. And Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that 40% of teens said they could get it within a day and more easily than alcohol.

These facts make it clear that anyone who wants to obtain marijuana illegally can already do so and that these regulations will do nothing but add to the suffering of our state’s sick and dying, whose lives are already immensely painful and difficult.

Perhaps the commissioner of the department, Dr. Poonam Alaigh has a conflict of interest as up until her state appointment she was National Medical Director for GlaxoSmithKline?

 

Eric Hafner
Red Bank, NJ