Allow patients relief from pain and nausea which marijuana offers

New Jersey Passes Medical Marijuana Law

As Massachusetts bill awaits committee vote, New Jersey is about to become the 14th state to protect its sick and dying patients from arrest

Matt Allen

Yesterday, the New Jersey state legislature passed a bill allowing seriously ill patients with certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with their doctor's recommendation. Gov. Corzine has said he will sign the bill. This historic vote will make New Jersey the 14th state in the nation to protect sick and dying patients from arrest who are simply trying to relieve their symptoms with marijuana. But in Massachusetts, where seriously ill patients lack safe and legal access to medical marijuana, state lawmakers have so far failed to enact an urgently needed medical marijuana law that would treat patients with compassion and dignity.

"Watching my son struggle with the side effects of brutal chemotherapy treatments was heart wrenching..."

"Marijuana helped my son maintain hope and his quality of life during his indescribably painful struggle with cancer," said Massachusetts resident Lorraine Kerz, who lost her 29-year-old son, Silas, to cancer in 2008-less than eight months after he had been diagnosed. "Watching my son struggle with the side effects of brutal chemotherapy treatments was heart wrenching. He threw up non-stop for days on end, had no appetite, lost weight, and was becoming despondent. Eventually, he decided to try using marijuana. Marijuana not only relieved his nausea and gave him back his appetite, it also helped alleviate feelings of anxiety and despair. Perhaps most importantly, marijuana did not come with any of the harsh side effects that most of the pharmaceutical medications did. I don't see why patients such as my son should have to break the law to use the medicine that works best for them. Massachusetts lawmakers didn't act fast enough to help my son, but I hope they will have the courage to act in time to help others."

Massachusetts' medical marijuana bill, H.B. 2160, has been introduced and received a hearing in the Joint Committee on Public Health on May 19, 2009, but it has not yet been scheduled for a vote in that committee during the current 2010 legislative session.

Matt Allen, Mass. Patient Advocacy Alliance.

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