Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer, Angelica Jimenez and Mila Jasey on Thursday introduced legislation that would ensure women’s health is addressed in New Jersey’s law on medical marijuana.
The bill would add dysmenorrhea, or lower abdominal cramping due to uterine contractions, to the list of conditions for which a doctor may authorize medical marijuana use for a patient who is not responsive to conventional medical therapy.
“By denying women in New Jersey access to a means of treating dysmenorrhea, our state fails to acknowledge the serious impact it can have on their wellness,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Furthermore, from an economic standpoint, New Jersey is missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue due to the restrictive nature of its medical marijuana law. While this will affect women directly, the financial benefit ultimately will be positive for everyone in the state.”
The introduction of the legislation comes on the heels of West Orange resident Whoopi Goldberg’s announcement that she is launching a line of all-natural medical marijuana products aimed at reducing pain associated with menstruation.
“For much of history, medical issues that impact women have been ignored or downplayed, leaving far too many individuals to suffer in silence,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “This legislation recognizes that, in severe cases, dysmenorrhea can be a debilitating condition that has a limiting effect on women’s lives.”
“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,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “We’re talking about expanding our activity in one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries – and garnering the economic benefit that comes with that – while simultaneously expanding women’s options when it comes to doing what’s best for their health.”
“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 Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “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.”
Under current New Jersey law, the list of conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed includes: seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; glaucoma; HIV, AIDS or cancer accompanied by severe pain, nausea or vomiting; ALS; multiple sclerosis; terminal cancer; muscular dystrophy; inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease; terminal illness with a prognosis of less than one year; or any other medical condition approved by the Department of Health.