The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Affairs has proposed a rule change that would allow medical marijuana to be used for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The new rule is in response to a bill signed in September by Governor Chris Christie that added PTSD to the list of conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment. The bill authorized the attorney general to pass the new rule.
The September bill also includes a provision requiring other means of treatment be tried before a doctor can recommend marijuana. Christie was initially hesitant to broaden admissions to the medical marijuana program, which he has complained is too lax and a gateway to legalization. However, he said he supported the bill because an estimated 20 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from this debilitating illness.
Some critics argue that PTSD sufferers are more vulnerable than others to potentially abuse marijuana. The governor rebuffed such criticisms, saying, “The mere potential of abuse by some should not deter the state from taking action that may ease the daily struggles of veterans and others who legitimately suffer from PTSD.”
Seventeen states allow for medical marijuana, but only 14 currently include PTSD as a condition treatable by the substance. New Jersey recognizes six other diseases that qualify patients for medical marijuana:
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- multiple sclerosis
- terminal cancer
- muscular dystrophy
- inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease
- any terminal illness with a prognosis less than a year
People with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, and glaucoma may also qualify if conventional medicine has failed. Those with HIV, AIDS, or non-terminal cancer may qualify if they suffer from severe and chronic pain, vomiting and nausea, and wasting syndrome.
Despite the governor’s concerns, New Jersey is a long way from legalizing marijuana. If you don’t have a recommendation from a doctor for medical marijuana, getting caught with even small amounts of the drug can mean serious consequences. Penalties include up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $15,000, depending on how much you were found with. A conviction can also result in losing your driver’s license and enrollment in a drug rehabilitation program at your expense. If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of marijuana or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, it is urgent that you contact an attorney to help minimize the consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys who can fight for your rights. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.