The Assembly Health Committee approved a bill today sponsored by Assembly Members Peter Barnes, Annette Quijano and Reed Gusciora  that supplements the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” enacted in 2009 to stipulate that a registered qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana is to be considered equivalent to using any other prescribed medication and not the use of an illicit substance that would otherwise disqualify a patient from needed medical care, including organ transplantation.

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“Now that this program is beginning to operate, it’s important that we protect patients desperately in need of this assistance,” says Barnes. “This will help ensure that the law cannot be misconstrued to hold these patients liable so that they receive the care they need.”

Quijano explains, “Many of the patients seeking relief under our medical marijuana law are terminally ill or suffering from unimaginable pain. The last thing they need is to have their medical needs denied because of a misinterpretation of the law.”

The measure was approved 9-1-1 by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

“The original law was enacted to ease the suffering for patients that have not found relief through traditional means,” says Gusciora, one of the sponsors of the original law. “This will help ensure that they receive the treatment they need and are not penalized under the law.”