Article by Jan Hefler, The Philadelphia Inquirer
For the first time in the history of the seven-year-old New Jersey medical marijuana program, a health department panel will consider adding chronic pain and other ailments to the list of about a dozen conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis in the state.
A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22 before a panel of eight doctors, pharmacists, and nurses who were appointed by Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett nearly one year ago. People who submitted petitions to the panel last summer will be invited to testify starting at 10 a.m. at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Dr., Trenton.
The public may also comment, said Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the health department.
“I think cannabis can replace all three of the medications I take for anxiety, migraines, and chronic pain,” said Bob Kane, 56, a retired landscaper from Ocean View, Cape May County, who submitted three petitions and had his family doctor write letters to the department supporting his request.
Kane said he was not enrolled in the state’s marijuana program, but would like to have the option to join it “so that if I choose to make an informed opinion, I can go ahead and augment my therapy with cannabis.”
When he tried cannabis in his youth, he said, he discovered it helped alleviate his anxiety.