Rich Caporusso says he witnessed the therapeutic power of marijuana about a decade ago, as a cherished family member lay in the hospital dying of lung cancer.
A pot-laced cookie, smuggled into her room, freed his relative from her stupor and enabled her to speak to her loved ones for the final time, said Caporusso, 32.
“It was absolutely amazing to me to see a drug taught to me as a child as killing brain cells was a godsend,” the Medford resident said.
Now, Caporusso is in dire need of the drug. The onetime New Jersey corrections officer is on disability, the result of injuries suffered during a 2007 prison melee and his subsequent care. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and painful muscle spasms, Caporusso is eligible for cannabis treatments under New Jersey’s two-year-old medical-marijuana program.
If only that program were in operation.
This month, Caporusso and his physician sued the state Department of Health and Senior Services; Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd; and John H. O’Brien Jr., director of the medical-marijuana program, who they say have “actively interfered with the implementation” of the program and imposed restrictions that have prevented sick people from getting the relief to which they are entitled.
I had dinner last night at Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen, in Red Bank NJ. This is the place where people who don’t have the money to eat in a real restaurant can work in exchange for a meal, even for their whole family.
I have to say, I was bowled over by the place. First of all, it’s very attractive. As Bon Jovi points out, this is not a soup kitchen. You eat at a table set with real dinnerware and cloth napkins. Everyone who works there is so warm and lovely; you literally can’t tell the difference between the donors and the guests. And the food was fabulous. (They grow their own greens and herbs in an organic garden out in front of the former gas station.)
We were seated at a table with two retired couples from northern NJ, and they liked the food as much as we did. I had a perfectly done pork chop in apricot sauce with roasted vegetables; my friend had a catfish po’ boy sandwich. The other people raved about their vegetable Napoleon, sandwiched with slices of eggplant.
The volunteers were great. Our waitress works three shifts a month, she told us. (She said she’d work four, but her day job schedule won’t let her.) A volunteer musician sat in a corner and played alto sax; the guy was so good, I thought I was listening to the radio – until I finally saw him.