TRENTON, NJ — Lost in the hype surrounding legal marijuana sales beginning in Colorado, last week the New Jersey legislature passed a little known, but nonetheless important, bill to protect patients enrolled in the Garden State’s medical marijuana program.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1220 and Assembly Bill 765, requires that any New Jersey residents’ authorized use of medical marijuana under the state’s program is to be considered equivalent to their use of any other prescribed medicine by healthcare professionals.
The bill protects medical marijuana patients from being denied healthcare procedures, such as organ transplants, because of their use of medical marijuana.
This bill supplements the existing “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” which Republican Gov. Chris Christie, an opponent of marijuana law reform, has vowed to not improve or expand.
But the legislature’s overwhelming approval of this common-sense patients’ rights legislation — the bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 33-5 and the Assembly 67-9 — can easily overturn a veto by Gov. Christie.
While not common, medical marijuana patients have been denied critical healthcare procedures because of their marijuana use in other states in the past, including organ transplants.