Source: North Jersey.com
Women who suffer from painful menstrual cramps could find relief in medical marijuana, if state legislation introduced this week is adopted.
The bill, which is being proposed by four North Jersey Democrats, would add dysmenorrhea to the list of medical conditions for which a doctor could prescribe marijuana. Under current state law, physicians can authorize the use of marijuana for a limited set of conditions, including terminal cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses.
“By adding dysmenorrhea to the list of health conditions that may be treated using medical marijuana, New Jersey would acknowledge the serious nature of the pain that many women experience,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey of South Orange, who co-sponsored the bill. “State law is the only thing standing in the way of relief from this agony for our residents who have tried everything else, and it’s time for that to change.”
The legislation follows the announcement last week that actress Whoopi Goldberg, who lives in West Orange, is launching a line of medical marijuana products designed to alleviate menstrual pain.
In addition to its impact on women’s health, the bill’s co-sponsors Friday touted its potential economic benefits.
“New Jersey is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue due to the restrictive nature of its medical marijuana law,” Assemblyman Tim Eustace of Maywood said. “While this will affect women directly, the financial benefit ultimately will be positive for everyone in the state.”
Assemblywomen L. Grace Spencer of Newark and Angelica Jimenez of West New York also sponsored the legislation.
Taylor West, the deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade group, said she’s not aware of any other state that specifically list cramps as an ailment authorized for medical marijuana use. But she said that it has likely been prescribed for menstrual cramps in states where doctors have more leeway in prescribing medical marijuana.
The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in 2010.
Use of the drug is tightly restricted in New Jersey and state lawmakers said Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has placed “arbitrary and unnecessary” restrictions on the program. Patients and doctors, for instance, must register with the state. Caregivers have to pay a $200 fee for an identification card.