- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chris Christie on Monday vowed to shut out efforts to broaden New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana rules amid a push to let doctors prescribe pot to women who suffer from severe menstrual cramps.

Proposed legislation introduced in the New Jersey legislature by Democratic lawmakers last week would allow patients with dysmenorrhea to be prescribed marijuana. Weighing in this week, however, the state’s Republican governor said he won’t let the bill advance while he’s in office.

“The reason why it hasn’t gotten the response it’s gotten in other states is because ours is a truly medical-based program for only people who have true illnesses that require medicinal marijuana,” Mr. Christie told reporters in Trenton, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. “Other states have programs that are faux medical-marijuana programs that allow for recreational use.”

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia allow health professionals to prescribe medicinal marijuana to patients, and doctors in New Jersey can write weed scripts for patients diagnosed with any of 10 conditions, including AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Assembly members Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer and Angelica Jimenez last week offered a bill that seeks to add dysmenorrhea to the list of criteria, and cited actress Whoopi Goldberg’s recent launch of a cannabis-infused products targeted specifically at women who suffer from severe menstrual pains.

“I have a daughter and two granddaughters who inherited my horrific menstrual cramps,” the “Sister Act” star told Glamour magazine recently. “Being a pot smoker for years, I talked to a lot of men in the marijuana business about developing something for period relief, and they always came back with ‘That’s too niche a market.’… Half of the planet is not a niche market!”

“For many women, the response to pain so severe that it causes them to vomit or faint is either, ‘Just deal with it,’ or a prescription drug that may not even alleviate their symptoms,” Ms. Jimenez said at last Thursday’s meeting when the bill was brought up.

Only 6,257 patients have been authorized to use medicinal marijuana in the Garden State, and Mr. Christie has previously decried efforts to broaden the program as “a front for legalization.”

“We’ve gotten 6,000 people access to medical marijuana in a state with almost 9 million people,” Ken Wolski, executive director of the the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, told Bloomberg. “We don’t anticipate any significant expansion during the Christie administration. As a matter of fact, we’ve pretty much abandoned our efforts.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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