On August 1st, the New Jersey Senate passed Assembly Bill A457 by a vote of 28-9. The bill had previously been passed by the Assembly on June 16th by a vote of 56-13. The bill amends New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Law, enacted in 2010, to allow the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). The measure was supported by veterans’ groups, as many veterans suffer from PTSD. One veteran who testified in support of the bill noted that twenty-two (22) veterans per day are committing suicide, and opined the use of medical marijuana to treat the condition could help to greatly reduce this number. “For many veterans, the effects of PTSD are not always healed by time and can be lasting and profound. When it comes to PTSD, medical marijuana holds the promise of providing significant relief as it does for many other illnesses and conditions that are not easily treatable with traditional medication,” said Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-Bergen), one of the primary sponsors of the bill. During the Assembly hearings in June, Assemblyman Reid Gusciora (D-Mercer), a co-sponsor of the bill, said “[i]f it works, we should allow it,” noting that the Israeli military has been experimenting with using marijuana to treat PTSD “right on the battlefield.”
In order for the bill to become law, it must be signed by Governor Christie, who did not take a position on the bill during a press conference on August 2nd, saying only that he would review it. The Governor is generally seen as being hostile to the Medical Marijuana Law and is likely to veto the measure. However, the bill received Republican support in both the Senate and the Assembly, and garnered enough votes on its passage so that a gubernatorial veto could possibly be overridden, if all the legislators who voted in favor of the bill were also to vote to override a veto.
Weekly Charting Tip:
If an insurance company or attorney requests a copy of your chart, make a copy of EXACTLY what you sent them. This way, you will know exactly what they have as to contents and dates. Also, send it return receipt requested and keep a copy of the proof of receipt. - Larry Kobak DPM, JD
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