Bernardsville Doc Can Legally Recommend Pot

State approves list of more than 100 N.J. physicians who will be able to recommend that their patients may obtain marijuana.

State officials this week released a list of more than 100 physicians, including one in Bernardsville, authorized to recommend medical marijuana to patients.

The physician Dr. J. Michael Kirschenbaum, with an address of 80 Chapin Road, Bernardsville, is included on the list of four authorized medical practitioners within Somerset County.

Also on Monday, the state Department of Health and Senior Services approved a permit for Montclair-based to start growing marijuana, a move that could make the drug legally available to patients in three to four months. A second permit is needed before the facility can start selling the substance to patients.

“The Department is committed to ensuring that medicinal marijuana is safely and securely available to patients as quickly as possible,” Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a statement.

In the registration process, physicians with verified credentials submit the name, address and condition of the patient they are treating, which generates a secure identification number for the patient, said Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner. Patients have to get an identification card from the state and select a treatment center before a recommendation will be generated by the state for a patient to purchase the marijuana.

“New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program is based on a medical-model which requires physicians and qualified patients to have an ongoing relationship,” Dr. Arturo Brito, deputy commissioner for public health services, said in a statement. “Physicians will have to monitor patients on medicinal marijuana as part of managing their medical condition.”

The Health Department is developing its patient registry, which will open in the next several months.

First opened in October 2010, the physician registry will continue to accept new enrollment online at https://njmmp.nj.gov/njmmp.  Doctors were informed their names would be made public so patients can contact them. In Bergen County, 26 physicians were listed, including the three in Teaneck.

“Physicians must have a bona fide and ongoing relationship with qualified patients they are recommending for the program,” said a Health Department news release.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana law was signed more than two years ago by then-Governor Jon Corzine. Advocates have criticized delays in implementing the program and releasing the list of doctors.

In March 2011, the state announced six treatment centers had been licensed, but later said they were not actually approved, according to NJ.com. The Star-Ledger also published a series exposing apparent mismanagement in the medical marijuana program.

Medical marijuana has been said to ease symptoms associated with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and muscular dystrophy.

Linda Sadlouskos contributed to this story.

scott s April 18, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Smoking Pot doesn't really affect driving much at all, it's not dangerous and doesn't contribute to driving accidents like alcohol at all. I personally know of responsible professional middle aged people that have been regular users their whole life and have never been in an accident, they say it makes you more aware & careful... for whatever it's worth...
n April 19, 2012 at 08:54 PM
It sounds like you've been smoking to much pot.
Maurice Marvi April 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
What a great idea "n". Let's ignore probable cause, and presumption of guilt! That may be why you've never heard this from anyone else. Now, Who's under the influence? Sometimes Kool-ade can be worse than Marijuana.
Kevin_Hunt April 20, 2012 at 03:03 AM
n, would you require those with legally prescribed pain pills to give up their licenses?
Chuck14od April 23, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Yes n, of course. Let's see what other medications may alter driving ability. Insulin, so I suppose on your theory all Diabetics should not be allowed to drive. And as mentioned, prescription narcotics. Sleeping pills. Anti-Anxiety meds. Cough medicine, Any and all meds, over the counter or otherwise, that makes one sleepy including allergy meds. Valium, Xanax, Chlonopin, et al. So I suppose in your world half the drivers in the U.S. would have their license taken away??? Maybe have a new federal police state agency to check if everyone who goes out to their vehicles can be checked to see if they got at least 9 hours of sleep the previous night?


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