A Dose of Compassion
Published: April 18, 2012
Medical marijuana, which can help relieve pain and nausea in patients with cancer and other illnesses, is now available in the District of Columbia and 16 states, including New Jersey. There is no reason patients in New York State, who are under the care of doctors, should be deprived of this useful treatment.
But with strong state regulations, similar to those adopted in New Jersey, the dispensing of medicinal marijuana would not increase the risk of illegal use of the drug. A bill being considered in the Legislature, sponsored by State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, both Democrats, would create one of the nation’s strictest regimens for dispensing marijuana.
A health care professional who is qualified to prescribe medications would have to certify that a patient has enough of a “severe, debilitating or life-threatening” illness to use medical marijuana. The certification could last up to a year, and during that time, the patient must register with the state health department and be issued an ID card for use at a state-licensed dispensary. The maximum amount of the certified marijuana that a patient would be allowed to possess at any one time is 2.5 ounces.
Lawmakers should pass this bill and make it possible for patients to obtain small, legal doses of medical marijuana that could relieve their suffering.