MIDDLETOWN, NJ — The Monmouth Patients Group, a civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of Medical Cannabis Patients in Monmouth County will be holding a rally against the unjust prosecution of PTSD Patient, Eric Hafner outside the Middletown Municipal Court located at 1 Kings Hwy, Middletown at 8am on Monday, March 12th 2012. The rally will go until 8:30am when court goes into session and supporters will join Mr. Hafner in the courtroom.
In late November, Mr. Hafner was charged with Possession of Marijuana under 50 grams (lowest personal possession charge) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Medical Marijuana Pipe) after the a traffic stop in which he was a passenger. Mr. Hafner suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe psychiatric disorder that can develop after exposure to an event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual's ability to cope. Patients suffering from PTSD have a highly increased risk of suicide.
While Medical Marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2010, the state government has failed to get the program up and running. As a result, no patients have been given the safe, legal access to their medicine as intended by the legislature and patients continue to be arrested as the state has not yet issued a single ID card to allow patients to demonstrate their medical status to law enforcement.
Under the law, 8 illnesses were initially listed as qualifying conditions with the Department of Health and Senior Services being given the power to additional illnesses at anytime. Unfortunately, the administrative regulations (written by the department, not a part of the actual law) arbitrarily require that patients wait 2 years prior to being able to file a petition with the department to cover an additional illness despite the fact patients are sick now, not 2 years from now.
While New Jersey did not specifically list PTSD under the initial law, Delaware was sure to do so in their law (passed right after and modeled on NJ's law) and New Mexico added PTSD to their list of qualifying conditions after a panel of medical experts reviewed a petition filed with the New Mexico Dept. of Health and determined that Medical Marijuana is an effective treatment for PTSD.
After his arrest in New Jersey, Mr. Hafner moved to Los Angeles, California and is recognized by the State of California as a legal Medical Marijuana Patient as per the recommendation of his doctor.
The Monmouth Patients group is demanding that the charges against Mr. Hafner be dropped, that his medicine be returned to him and that the State of New Jersey stops arresting Medical Marijuana Patients. A recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll (Nov 2011) found that 86% of New Jersey voters support legal Medical Marijuana.