Medical marijuana heroes help patients get relief

Regarding the recent Press editorial, “Cynical ‘back door’ legalization of marijuana undermines law and medicine”:

There’s a new class of hero in society today. These are the N.J. state health care workers who are involved with the medical marijuana program (MMP). These diligent professionals are the unsung heroes who have helped thousands of patients find relief through the expanding, yet still restrictive MMP.

The greatest champion, though, has been state Commissioner of Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal, who has been educating physicians on the science of the body’s endocannabiniod system. Through his “grand rounds” program, Elnahal may be the first health commissioner in the nation to reach out directly to other doctors.

There is no shame being a patient. There is compassion and relief, once a person can circumvent the prohibitive costs and the ongoing stigma. Medical cannabis is a gateway to better health.

Having had the privilege of working as a patient educator for the last 18 months, I’ve seen the benefits cannabis bestows on patients of all ages: It is truly life changing. Patients routinely share stories from weight loss, reduced anxiety, weaning off medications and overall feelings of long-term well-being.

Alcohol is the gateway drug. Excessive use of alcohol led to about 88,000 American deaths annually from 2006 to 2010. There are no recorded deaths from overdosing on marijuana. The only thing cynical is how many in society (and especially South Jersey) glorify the alcohol industry. We glamorize micro breweries, destination vineyards and boutique distilleries, yet vilify a natural drug older than modern pharmacopoeia.

Robert Kane

Ocean View

Upper Twp. hirings seem political and wasteful

Upper Township has decided to spend $10,000 on a new media consultant. About five years ago, the Township Committee decided to eliminate the position from the township, stating that the township was looking for ways to save money.

Now that the electric power plant is closing and taxes are continually going up, the committee decided that they should hire a person from the leadership of the Upper Township Republican Committee.

We taxpayers should ask why the township now needs a media consultant with a salary of $10,000 when it’s just as easy to post events on Facebook, Instagram and township websites for free. Is Larry Trulli going to be writing Republican Committee articles to help nominees during an election year? How do we know he will write unbiased articles about the Township Committee and not just articles favorable to Republican members?

I personally think the hire is a political payback (just like the hiring of Scott Morgan at about $80,000 to lessen the load of underworked committee members). The five members of the committee do not seem to care how they spend our money. They just push through these positions with no thought of the cost to the hard-working taxpayers of the township.

Robert Jones


Reduce use of plastic

Plastic is ruining our lives in more than one way. In every school in America combined, we use about 18 billion single-use bags a day. Only a mere 9% of plastics can be recycled. Americans throw away 15 million pounds of plastic packaging every year. I’m a third-grade student, and I think making a change might be the difference between life and death.

A challenge than can help save us is the No Straw Challenge to stop using plastic straws. At restaurants, people should refuse plastic straws, if they do not give an option to already. This can help very much, for people are using way too many plastic straws.

Some other ways people can help is by recycling. This reuses a lot of the plastic they are using. They can also avoid using plastic as much as possible. Do people really need a plastic straw at a café? No, but they choose to anyway. If we don’t act now, there may not be a tomorrow for us to act in.

Eric James Ekstrom


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