New Jersey has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation, leaving no access to many who could be benefiting from the medicine. But now something is being done to change that – especially for women. Drawing inspiration from Whoopi Goldberg and California businesswoman Maya Elisabeth, Assemblyman Tim Eustace said he will be introducing legislation that would add women’s conditions to the approved list of ailments for medical marijuana.

The NJ marijuana program was initiated under former Governor Jon Corzine, and is staunchly opposed by current Gov. Chris Christie. So far, only 6,527 patients have been approved since its inception in August 2012. Just 10 conditions are approved for treatment with medical marijuana. Severe or chronic pain is a qualifying condition, but only if it is caused by cancer or AIDS. [1]

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey of South Orange in North Jersey says it’s time to update the legislation and allow women to have access to medical marijuana as a form of relief. Jasey, who co-sponsored the bill, said:

“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. 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.” [2]

Tim Eustace promised:

“We will expand the list to serve the population that needs it.”

Eustace said he was inspired by a new line of products, which were created by actress and talk (“The View”) host Whoopi Goldberg and California businesswoman Maya Elisabeth, specifically to relieve menstrual pain. He said that many women are leaving the state to seek medical cannabis to treat their pain, and he hopes that if the legislation is passed, it will prevent female sufferers from having to look elsewhere for relief.

Source: Vanity Fair
Source: Vanity Fair

Maya Elisabeth, the owner of Omedibles, said of the need for cannabis treatment for menstrual cramps:

“Every month women experience pain and discomfort associated with their period. Cannabis is a wonderful remedy, and combined with other superfoods and medicinal herbs, can provide the type of relief many women need.”

Om Edibles was founded in 2008, and its goal is to treat cannabis “as a superfood” rather than merely a drug. Om’s products are sold at over 20 locations, but are currently only available in California.

Elisabeth is partnering with Whoopi Goldberg to offer a line of medicinal marijuana products just for women who have period-related pain. The line – “Whoopi & Maya Brand” – will also only be available in California. The items can’t be shipped to other locations because marijuana remains illegal on the federal level.

Even though Omedibles and Whoopi & Maya Brand products aren’t available in New Jersey, they were certainly the driving force behind the push to add menstrual pain to the list of approved conditions. Goldberg is a resident of North Jersey.

Eustace, along with L. Grace Spencer and Angelica Jimenez, credited Elisabeth and Goldberg in a press release for planting the idea in their minds.

Said Eustace:

“People have this puritanical idea that it’s a bunch of potheads sitting in these dispensaries, but there are some very sick patients in need.”

According to Taylor West, the deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a nonprofit trade group, passage of the legislation would make New Jersey the only state in the U.S. that specifically lists menstrual cramps as an ailment authorized for medical marijuana use, though cannabis has likely been prescribed for women with cramps in states where medical marijuana is legal. [3]

Sources:

[1] Forbes

[2] NorthJersey.com

[3] CBS News

Vanity Fair


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About Julie Fidler:
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.