“Medical Marijuana”(print/written)

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey

Amanda Vargas, 29, is in her backyard in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, smoking some (CBD) marijuana in her vapor pipe. CBD is a marijuana compound that doesn’t get you high but relieves pain.She does not want to get stoned. She wants to feel good before she sits down for a Q&A on the ins and outs of medical marijuana in New Jersey.

Vargas was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Glaucoma when she was young.  She received a prescription for medical marijuana about a year and a half ago, which has been legal for three years in NJ. She shares a story about an MS patient that went to jail for growing their own marijuana.

Every time Vargas needs to renew her prescription, she must see a doctor. Usually this is a doctor out of her insurance network, so she pays for her appointments and a prescription renewal month after month. It costs $540.00/ounce plus doctors’ appointments.

An illegal marijuana ounce (after the purchase of a half-pound) costs $235 to $255 for the “good stuff” before mark up.

That’s a 110% mark up on a plant. This State is loaded with Costco’s and Wal-Mart’s, but these dispensaries are not able to selling enough to lower the legitimate costs to equate street prices. “The marijuana dries out on the shelf and the potency goes down with age.” said Vargas. “There are not enough medical cards out there to support a high turnover of product in the stores in New Jersey.”

Governor Christie recently mentioned his contribution to medical marijuana during the last Republican debate. Vargas’s experiences lead her to believe things are not as good as they could be. She wonders if they have been over-looked or propped up to fail.

Vargas feels that progress is hampered by the red tape issues such as: Should people with previous drug prescription addictions and abuses be allowed to smoke medical marijuana? Could it be another addiction or the cure to this problem?

When smoking and driving issues were mentioned, Vargas’ said “no one should be smoking medical marijuana and getting behind the wheel. Medical marijuana is to be treated the same as any other substance, like over the counter medications.

Vargas’s reaction is more adverse to the mention of cigarettes then drinking.

Vargas who has two aunts with cancer.One passed away during the time of this interview, and was only a year ago smoking illegal non-medical marijuana to feel better. But in the last few months she switched to the chemotherapy, which further harmed her and aided in escalation of her cancer that would eventually destroy her.

Vargas sees marijuana as a spice or herb from the earth, not a pharmaceutical product. The companies that are trying to make marijuana pills do not interest her.Taking the natural growth and making it a chemical could bring back the negative results that she feels her eyes underwent with all the chemical medications dropped into them. Vargas has been legally blind since age 12. She has never driven a car.

Vargas’s Marijuana Jar looks the same as a medicine bottle. It has a prescription sticker on the side, along with a bar code, and a description of strength and type. When using the plant as medicine, she doesn’t want to be stoned 24/7. That’s where the (CBD) strains come in.

It is now three o’clock in the afternoon and she isn’t interested in being stoned, she has work to do.

 

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