Wednesday, April 18, 2018

420 Trenton, NJ March & Rally 2018


For more info, contact: Ken (609) 394-2137, or see:
https://www.facebook.com/events/376738006135903/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHO: New Jersey Cannabis Community  
WHAT: March from Trenton City Hall to a Rally at the NJ State House Annex
WHEN: April 20, 2018 (1:00pm March from Trenton City Hall; 2:00pm Speakers at NJ State House Annex; 3:30pm Music by Herb Funk)
WHY: Celebrate progress in marijuana reform, free drug war prisoners, ensure home cultivation & end marijuana stigma.

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey will be hosting a Cannabis Community march and rally from Trenton City Hall to the NJ State House Annex on April 20th, 2018. Anonymous—HempSector @HempSector will lead the march.

We will gather together to support cannabis rights for all people at the capital city. April 20th is International Peter Tosh Day. Peter Tosh was a human rights activist who wrote and performed the iconic song, “Legalize It.” We will celebrate the progress we have made. We will discuss further actions needed by our community and our legislators to make medicinal marijuana affordable for patients and to stop arrests of all cannabis users. Speakers will share information about the medicinal marijuana program, prospects of legalization, and ways to get involved.

At the State House Annex, marchers will join the Sativa Cross podcast to hear educational and inspirational testimony by invited speakers, followed by musical performances. We want to end the stigma on cannabis. Please join us in standing up for justice for people and cannabis!

#LetPatientsGrow #TheyShallGrow #LegalizeIt #PeterTosh420 #JusticeForJawara

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618
(609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com info@cmmnj.org

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about safe and legal access to medical marijuana.



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

CMMNJ's April 2018 Public Meeting Agenda


Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Twp. Library, Rm. #3 
Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 7-9 PM

Approve March 2018 minutes. Discuss:

Descheduling hearings: 4/19/18, Newark, 124 Halsey Street, 9:30-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m., and on 4/24/18 in Trenton, 25 Market Street, 9:30-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Send requests to speak & written comments by 4/12/18 to: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Proposals/Pages/default.aspx

CMMNJ testified at the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on 3/22/18 in support of Substitute bill A3437: https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/04/march-25-2018-revised-testimony.html

CMMNJ was invited to Gov. Murphy’s Press Conference on 3/27/18 for the Executive Order #6 Report. CMMNJ was very happy with the recommendations to expand conditions, end registry, cut fees, etc. See:  http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18. Follow up committee meetings are planned for 4/21 @ 10 am at Rowan U., Glassboro, and 5/12 @10 am at Bergen C.C., Paramus.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).
Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail over one year; found guilty of nothing! Free him!

Upcoming Events: Marijuana rally planned in Trenton on April 20th (420) from 9 am to 3 pm.

Patients Out of Time conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18.
Press release: https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/02/national-pot-conference-coming-to-new.html

Trenton mayoral and council candidates’ event, 4/6 & 4/17, Trinity Cathedral, 6-9pm.

NJ Cannabis Commission Response to NJ Black Caucus prohibitionists: Atlantic City, 4/24, 8-4pm.

ASA Unity Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18

Treasury report: Checking: $2952; PayPal: $3727.

CMMNJ's meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Twp., 08648. All are welcome. (Meeting at the library does not imply Mercer County’s endorsement of our issue.)

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.


Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
March 13, 2018

February 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

Many thanks to the representatives of numerous organizations who attended the March meeting!

CMMNJ met with DOH Deputy Commissioner Jackie Cornell on 2/28/18 re Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6 to expand and improve access to the Medicinal Marijuana Program. See: Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations for the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP):
https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/04/cmmnjs-regulatory-and-legislative.html

Patients still report ATCs running out of strains like AC/DC, which won’t be available for months. 

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ on March 5, 2018. See: https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/03/legislative-testimony-supporting.html
Follow up committee meetings planned for 4/21 @ 10 am at Rowan U., Glassboro, and 5/12 @10 am at Bergen C.C., Paramus.

Advocates speak up at local council meetings throughout the state in support of marijuana reform. Jim Miller went to the Toms River council and Lefty Grimes is going to many communities.

March 10, 2018 was the 15th anniversary of CMMNJ’s first public event at the White Dog Café.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail over one year; found guilty of nothing! Free him! 

Medical marijuana became available for purchase in Pennsylvania on Feb. 15, and a total of six dispensaries are opening across the state this week. 

Leo Bridgewater attended the Black Caucus meeting in Jersey City—mostly opponents of legalization were invited to speak; follow up meetings 3/27 in Elizabeth and 4/24 at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

Upcoming Events: 
Marijuana rally planned in Trenton on April 20th (420) from 9 am to 3 pm.
 “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Patients Out of Time conference, Jersey City, 5/10–12/18.
Ken speaking on a panel 5/10; also NJ women veterans speaking. Press release sent 2/6/18.

Treasury report: Checking: $2951; PayPal: $3235; (1000 new ECS brochures purchased). 

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.

Order 100% hemp bands from CMMNJ: 
$1 each/wholesale prices available




Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:

Executive Order 6 Report
http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf

How dangerous is marijuana? N.J.'s top cop wants to hear from you
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/04/how_dangerous_is_marijuana_njs_top_cop_want_to_hea.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The business of weed, from the medical marijuana industry to the black market
http://www.silive.com/news/2018/03/medicinal_black_market.html

Fix medical marijuana program, Phil Murphy's new health commissioner told
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/03/fix_medical_marijuana_program_senate_panel_tells_n.html

Do NJ cops know medical marijuana guidelines? Not really, says an advocate on a mission
https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/03/09/medical-marijuana-advocate-mission-protect-patients-one-cop-time/1062381001/

Want to make big money in legal weed? These jobs may soon be coming to N.J.
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/03/legal_weed_provides_several_ways_to_make_money_wit.html

Legalized pot in New Jersey - not so fast
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/marijuana-legalize-pot-new-jersey-legislature-20180309.html#loaded

Pot Advocate Quizzes Police on Medical Marijuana Laws
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-jersey/articles/2018-03-10/pot-advocate-quizzes-police-on-medical-marijuana-laws

NJ marijuana legalization: Home grow, 400 legal weed dispensaries OK in new bill
https://www.app.com/story/news/local/public-safety/2018/03/13/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-weed-dispensaries-home-grow-2018/420023002/

NJ marijuana legalization: Will Murphy’s Jan. 2019 deadline for legal weed become reality?
https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/03/15/legal-weed-nj-marijuana-budget-but-not-sure-thing/426324002/

NJ marijuana legalization: Is home grow too much, too soon with legal weed?
https://www.app.com/story/news/local/public-safety/2018/03/16/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-home-grow-legal-weed-phil-murphy-2018/428630002/

Chris Conrad & Mikki Norris: Their Story | Pt.1: The Golden Years
http://www.cannabisnewsnetwork.com/chris-conrad-mikki-norris-their-story-pt-1-the-golden-years/

Doctors -- not politicians -- should decide who gets medical marijuana, N.J. panel says
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/03/let_doctors_not_politicians_decide_who_gets_medici.html

LAWMAKERS GO FOR HYBRID PROPOSAL TO EXPAND MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM IN NJ
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/18/03/22/lawmakers-go-for-hybrid-proposal-to-expand-medical-marijuana-program/

Get ready for massive expansion of N.J.'s medical marijuana program. Here's the scoop.
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/03/report_nj_medical_marijuana_program_should_get_hug.html

Murphy makes medical marijuana legit. Here's what needs to happen next | Editorial
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/03/new_jersey_has_a_medical_marijuana_program_for_rea.html

New Jersey Adds Five New Medical Marijuana Conditions, Reduces Patient Fee
http://theafricom.com/2018/03/29/new-jersey-adds-five-new-medical-marijuana-conditions.html

Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/04/02/health/medical-cannabis-law-opioid-prescription-study/index.html

Why These 3 Marijuana Stocks Are Poised For a Big Week
https://www.potnetwork.com/news/why-these-3-marijuana-stocks-are-poised-big-week


Below is Paul Armantano’s guest column submission to the Asbury Park Press in response to the March 8, 2018 editorial (“NJ marijuana legalization: Take a sober look at legal weed”):
https://www.app.com/story/opinion/editorials/2018/03/08/nj-marijuana-legalization-legal-weed/407986002/

For those interested in the source materials/citations for these studies and related papers, these fact-sheets address these and related issues in further details:

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/marijuana-regulation-impact-on-health-safety-economy

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/relationship-between-marijuana-and-opioids

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/marijuana-regulation-and-teen-use-rates

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/marijuana-regulation-and-crime-rates

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/societal-impacts-of-cannabis-dispensaries-retailers

http://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets/item/marijuana-legalization-and-impact-on-the-workplace


When It Comes To Legalizing Cannabis — You Have Questions, We Have Answers

by Paul Armentano

Editors pose several valid questions with regard to adult use marijuana regulation and its effects on public safety (“NJ marijuana legalization: Take a sober look at legal weed,” March 8). Specifically, they inquire about the impact of these regulations on teen use, traffic safety, and economic revenue. Fortunately, we have ample data from other jurisdictions that provide answers to these questions.

ADOLESCENT USE

Writing in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Boston University scientists conclude, "We can state with some confidence that, even in states that have enacted marijuana liberalization policies, marijuana use among adolescents is not currently increasing. In fact, there is rather compelling evidence that adolescent marijuana use has steadily declined.” Specifically, in Colorado, "For adults and adolescents, past-month marijuana use has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users. Based on the most comprehensive data available, past month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average.” So concluded the Colorado Department of Public Health in 2017. According to the Oregon Health Authority, "Recent trends in youth use have been stable.” In Washington, according to data released last year by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among young people post-legalization. These declines were most pronounced among 8th and 10th graders. Researchers concluded: "We found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. ... [and] we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.”

TRAFFIC SAFETY

Data from states that have liberalized marijuana’s legal status show no uptick in motor vehicle crashes. Writing in the August 2017 edition of The American Journal of Public Health, University of Texas researchers compared traffic crash data in the three years  prior to the enactment of adult use legalization in Colorado and Washington versus data trends in the three years immediately following legalization. “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” they concluded. They further reported, “[W]e also found no association between recreational marijuana legalization and total crash rates when analyzing available state-reported non-fatal crash statistics.”

Investigators also compared traffic safety trends in Colorado and Washington versus eight control states that had not altered their marijuana laws. They concluded, “[C]hanges in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without creational marijuana legalization.”

TAX REVENUE

Adults use regulatory schemes are associated with increased tax revenue and job creation. A 2017 state by state analysis by content provider Leafly.com identified 149,304 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis sector. According to data compiled by ZipRecruiter.com, the total number of industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017. Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70% growth). In Colorado, cannabis-specific taxes and fees have yielded $506,143,635 in state revenue since January 1, 2014 — a total that well exceeds initial projections. Cannabis sales in Washington state continue to grow at a steady rate, with total 2017 sales topping $1.1 billion at the end of September. In October, Nevada's recreational marijuana industry hit a new high, selling more than $37.9 million that month alone. The state has earned nearly $20 million in marijuana tax revenue since the adult-use market launched in July, according to Forbes Magazine.


Real world experience from other states indicate that cannabis use and sales can be regulated in a manner that increase revenue while also promoting social justice and public safety. State lawmakers should welcome the opportunity to bring necessary and long overdue controls to the marijuana market. A pragmatic framework regulating adult use, but that continues to restrict marijuana use and access by young people, best reduces the risks associated with the plant's misuse. By contrast, advocating for the marijuana’s continued criminalization only compounds them.

Regards,

Paul Armentano
NORML Deputy Director
paul@norml.org



Assembly Health Committee Testimony Re: Substitute A3437


March 25, 2018 (Revised testimony)

Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee
State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey
March 22, 2018

Re:  Substitute A3437:  Revisions to the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” P.L.2009, c.307 44 (C.24:6I-1 et al.)

My name is Ken Wolski. I have practiced as an RN in NJ and PA for over 40 years. I am executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana –New Jersey (CMMNJ), a nonprofit organization I co-founded 15 years ago.

The testimony I originally submitted to this committee was in opposition to A3437. However, after reviewing Substitute A3437, available on the day of the committee meeting, I want to change my testimony to support this bill, though with some concerns and recommendations.

The overarching concerns of our educational organization are:
access to the program;
availability of strains;
cost of the product; and,
artificially low limits/month.

Substitute A3437 substitute has a number of good recommendations. It would:
allow physicians to determine the need for medical marijuana;
make the physician registry voluntary, not mandatory for physicians to recommend medical marijuana;
eliminate the psychiatrist requirement for minors to access the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP), but keep the pediatrician requirement;
authorize edibles in various forms and instruct the New Jersey Department of Health  (DOH) commissioner to set limits on edibles;
do away with the previous administration’s requirement that edibles are only for minors;
mandate that 15% of new dispensaries would go to businesses that are run by minorities, women, veterans and/or disabled veterans;
increase the allowable amount of marijuana dispensed from two to four ounces; and,
reduce fees for ID cards from $200, with a $20 discount rate, to $50 with a $10 discount rate for patients on government assistance.

A main thrust of Substitute A3437 is to change the nature of future Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) into cultivation/processor centers and dispensary centers.

Substitute A3437 would allow six (6) additional cultivation/processors added to the five existing ATCs (soon to be six) in each region of the state (Northern, Central and Southern regions), for a total of 12. These 12 cultivation/processors would furnish marijuana products to 40 dispensaries in the three regions of the state.

This represents a reasonable and conservative approach to expand the MMP. Doubling the number of cultivation/processors should help MMP patients who regularly complain that the existing ATCs run out of particular strains of marijuana that are most effective in controlling the symptoms of their serious medical conditions.

The primary purpose of the MMP is to meet the needs of patients. Currently, patients in New Jersey pay the highest prices in the nation for their medicinal marijuana. Simply expanding the outlets where they can pay these prices is not doing any service to the patients. Vigorous competition that allows for market forces to influence pricing should bring the out-of-pocket expenses of the MMP patients down to more reasonable levels. Hopefully, Substitute A3437 will stimulate price reductions for MMP patients.

A home cultivation provision for MMP patients is the ideal solution to both availability and affordability of therapeutic strains of marijuana, but this provision is lacking from Substitute A3437.

Substitute A3437 creates a new “total amount of usable marijuana that a patient may be dispensed, in weight, in a 30-day period, which amount shall not exceed four ounces.” The addition of two ounces per month to the current amount allowed is appreciated, but it will also be inadequate for some patients. Marijuana therapy is highly individualized. The actual amount allowed each month should be what the recommending physician deems necessary to control the symptoms of the patient.

Substitute A3437 still requires patients to be seen every 30/60/90 days by a physician simply for renewal of their marijuana recommendation.  Some patients’ underlying condition(s) will never go away. They should not have to be seen so frequently. Yearly visits should be adequate, unless the patient is a minor.

Some of these recommendations in Substitute A3437 are not necessary to be included in legislation. The DOH plans to release its report improving access to the MMP very soon and it will presumably make significant changes by regulation.  A new administration that looks favorably upon the MMP is more likely to expand the program as needed without revisiting legislation. The DOH may well:
add to the MMP the 43 petitions that were recommended be approved by the DOH Review Panel, and may allow individual physicians to determine future conditions that qualify for marijuana therapy;
allow any New Jersey licensed physician with prescription privileges to recommend medical marijuana, and make the Physician Registry voluntary;
reduce the fees for MMP ID cards; and,
evaluate whether there are sufficient numbers of alternative treatment centers to meet the needs of registered qualifying patients throughout the State and make its own recommendations for expanding the MMP since, according to the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, the Commissioner of the DOH is empowered to do this:
“The (DOH) shall seek to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of alternative treatment centers throughout the State, pursuant to need…and centers subsequently issued permits may be nonprofit or for-profit entities.”

While we have some concerns about the proposed bill, and would like to see a number of other provisions added to the bill (see below), the Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. supports Substitute A3437.

CMMNJ’s recommended additions to the Substitute A3437:

Allow any licensed healthcare professional with prescription privileges, including Advanced Practice Nurses, Dentists, and Veterinarians, to recommend medical marijuana;
Mandate education on the Endocannabinoid System for all healthcare professionals in NJ who have prescription privileges;
Recognize out-of-state ID cards now that 30 states have medical marijuana programs including NY, PA, DE, etc.;
Adopt “Patient Focused Certification” in order to bring national standards to every aspect of the MMP (testing, etc.) through Quality Assurance audits using the industry’s best technical experts, (currently used in DE & MD): https://safeaccess2.org/patientfocusedcertification//
Require ongoing, documented training for all state, county and local Law Enforcement Officers on the MMP (OAG Guidelines posted on the DOH website is not adequate training);
Have the DOH develop complete dosing and administration guidelines for standardized medical marijuana products (including information on expected effects, side effects, adverse effects, etc.); See: “Medicinal cannabis: Rational guidelines for dosing:”  https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/582a/efb5bfa326fdba0affc23e343151e02aa903.pdf
Allow edible medical marijuana products for qualified patients in all state institutions to improve care and reduce healthcare costs (including lawsuit avoidance)—allow institutional physicians to recommend, and nurses to administer, medical marijuana after appropriate training, and then conduct case studies on patients receiving this treatment;
Deschedule marijuana in New Jersey;
Include explicit employee workplace protections for MMP patients:
Evaluate the effectiveness of state mandated policies and procedures for the administration of medical marijuana at schools and facilities for the developmentally disabled throughout NJ, amend these policies as needed, and extend these policies to include colleges and universities in NJ; and,
Restore home cultivation of 6 (six) plants for qualified patients with an MMP ID card (this provision was originally approved by the NJ Senate on 2/23/09).

Respectfully submitted,


Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08618
609.394.2137 www.cmmnj.org

CMMNJ's Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations


Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations for the
New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP)

Regulatory Recommendations:

1. Allow any New Jersey licensed physician with prescription privileges to recommend medical marijuana;
2. Make the Physician Registry voluntary, to serve as a patient resource, not as a requirement for physician participation in the MMP;
3. Add to the MMP the 43 petitions that were recommended be approved by the Department of Health (DOH) Review Panel;
4. Allow additional qualifying conditions to be decided in the privacy of the prescriber-patient relationship;
5. Mandate education on the Endocannabinoid System for all healthcare professionals in NJ who have prescription privileges, based on anticipated expansion of qualifying conditions for marijuana therapy, and on anticipated legalization of adult use;
6. Have the DOH develop complete dosing and administration guidelines for standardized medical marijuana products (including information on expected effects, side effects, adverse effects, etc.); See: “Medicinal cannabis: Rational guidelines for dosing” https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/582a/efb5bfa326fdba0affc23e343151e02aa903.pdf
7. Allow edible medical marijuana products for qualified patients in all state institutions to improve care and reduce healthcare costs--allow institutional physicians to recommend, and nurses to administer, medical marijuana after appropriate training and then conduct case studies on patients receiving treatment;
8. Reschedule/deschedule marijuana in NJ (Director of Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of Attorney General);
9. Eliminate fee for caregiver ID card;
10. Evaluate effectiveness of mandated policies and procedures for the administration of medical marijuana at schools and facilities for the developmentally disabled throughout NJ, modify the policies as necessary, and extend these policies to include colleges and universities in NJ;
11. Eliminate the requirement for psychiatric clearance for minors and require only one MD to recommend medical marijuana for minors;
12. Cancel the 7% tax on medical marijuana which is in violation of the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s Technical Bulletin issued 2/16/10 that notes, “Effective October 1, 2005, all drugs for human use, including prescribed drugs and over-the-counter drugs are exempt from sales and use tax.”  http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/pubs/tb/tb63.pdf
13. Establish medical marijuana discounts for veterans.

Legislative Recommendations:

1. Increase the 2 ounce limit per patient per month (medical cannabis use is individualized for patient and medical condition, so there should be no upper limit to what a patient can have—dosage should be based on patient need and method(s) of administration);
2. Restore home cultivation of 6 (six) plants for qualified patients with a NJ MMP ID card (which was approved by the NJ Senate on 2/23/09);
3. Allow any licensed healthcare professional with prescription privileges to recommend medical marijuana, including Advanced Practice Nurses, Dentists, and Veterinarians;
4. Recognize out-of-state ID cards now that 30 states have medical marijuana programs including NY, PA, DE, etc.;
5. Allow patients to obtain medical marijuana from out-of-state, if necessary, while NJ increases supply to meet increased demand;
6. Decriminalize marijuana as soon as possible to protect potential medical patients from arrest and criminal charges for the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana;
7. Do not allow adult use (legalization) legislation to infringe on any current rights of medical marijuana patients;
8. Allow for the use of cannabis as a first line treatment rather than a treatment of last resort--amend CUMMA C.24:6I-3 Definition of “Debilitating medical condition” (1) delete “if resistant to conventional medical treatment”;
9. Pass into law S997 which requires registered qualifying patient's authorized use of medical marijuana to be considered equivalent to use of any other prescribed medication--this prohibits restrictions on patients receiving organ transplants based on marijuana use;
10. Include explicit employee workplace protections--pass into law A1838 which establishes protection from adverse employment action for authorized medical marijuana patients;
11. Pass A1856 "Children's Caregivers Act" which revises requirements for primary caregivers for medical marijuana patients who are minors;
12. Permit any edible form of marijuana for any age and establish dosage units for all forms (repeal prohibition on edibles for adults—only minors are currently allowed edibles);
13. Require initial and ongoing training for all state, county and local Law Enforcement Officers on the medical marijuana program (OAG Guidelines posted on the DOH website is not adequate training);
14. Adopt “Patient Focused Certification” in order to bring national standards to every aspect of the MMP (testing, etc.) through Quality Assurance audits using the industry’s best technical experts, (currently used in DE & MD): https://safeaccess2.org/patientfocusedcertification//

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618
609.394.2137 www.cmmnj.org

February 23, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Legislative testimony supporting marijuana reform



Testimony in support of Legalizing, Taxing and Regulating Marijuana for Adults in New Jersey

by: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA

March 5, 2018

Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee:
Danielsen, Joe - Chair   
Houghtaling, Eric - Vice-Chair 
Dancer, Ronald S.   
Lopez, Yvonne   
Quijano, Annette   
Rumpf, Brian E.

Chairman Danielsen and committee members, thank you for the opportunity to testify before this committee in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in New Jersey.

I am Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ). I have included my resume in the packet of information that I am presenting to each member of this committee. Briefly, I have practiced as a registered nurse (RN) for over 40 years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including over 25 years with the State of New Jersey, and seven years as an ICU/CCU nurse in Central Jersey and Center City Philadelphia. I also worked as a Public Health Nurse in the City of Trenton.

I co-founded CMMNJ in 2003. CMMNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization and public charity that provides education about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana. CMMNJ was instrumental in getting the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act introduced into the state legislature in 2005, and passed into law in 2010.

For the past eight years, CMMNJ has been struggling to meaningfully implement this law in the face of the many delays and roadblocks that were put in place by the previous administration.

We were very pleased the Governor Murphy signed Executive Order #6 on January 23, 2018 that directed the Department of Health (DOH) and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) and make recommendations to expand it and ease access to it.

I was especially pleased that the DOH reached out to me for a meeting to discuss the future of the NJ MMP. I had a meeting with DOH Principal Deputy Commissioner Jackie Cornell on 2/28/18, along with Dr. David L. Nathan, the founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. I discussed with Deputy Commissioner Cornell my list of “Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations for the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP),” a copy of which I have presented to this committee. The regulatory issues can be dealt with through the DOH, but the legislative issues of course, must be dealt with by the legislature. Therefore I invite you to review these recommendations and I am available to answer questions about them, either now or at any time in the future.

Also in the packet of information I submitted is:

  • A press release on the importance of home cultivation for MMP patients;
  • An Op Ed I wrote urging the use of marijuana edibles in state institutions to improve healthcare and save 10’s of millions of dollars each year; and,
  • Summaries of three bills currently in the legislature to improve the MMP: S 997, a bill to make marijuana the equal of any other drug, A 1838, a bill to protect MMP patients from adverse employment actions, and A 1856, a bill to expand the role of caregivers in the state.

I know the focus of this committee’s hearing is adult use of marijuana, but our organization has always believed that before we can discuss broader legalization of marijuana, we must first protect the sick and injured who need marijuana medically. We must remove from the battlefield of the War on Drugs, the sick and injured—it’s the humane thing to do.

In fact, for the first 11 years of CMMNJ’s existence, our Board took no position on the broader legalization of marijuana—we neither supported it nor opposed it.

In 2011, the board of CMMNJ endorsed bills in the New Jersey Legislature that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. CMMNJ took this action because the MMP was dysfunctional — not a single patient in New Jersey had received legal medical marijuana in the two years since the bill passed into law, and patients continued to be arrested and imprisoned in the state for using marijuana to treat their medical conditions, even some patients who had MMP ID cards. Moreover, countless patients who could benefit from medical marijuana, would continue to be disqualified from participating in the MMP for the foreseeable future.

In 2014, the CMMNJ board realized that decriminalization, which only protects patients from arrest, is not an adequate solution. Decriminalization still penalizes desperately ill patients for using their medicine. Moreover, decriminalization depends on and supports illegal sources of marijuana, and this marijuana is of questionable quality and limited variety. This simply does not meet the needs of the numerous patients who could benefit from marijuana therapy in New Jersey.

These patients need a consistent and reliable source of marijuana, in a wide variety of preparations, for illnesses that may well last a lifetime. Many patients and their families are fleeing New Jersey — they are becoming medical refugees — in order to obtain adequate treatment with types and preparations of marijuana that are only available out of state. Colorado’s orderly implementation of a system of taxed and appropriately regulated marijuana — free of unreasonable federal interference — shows that we can do the same in New Jersey and meet the needs of all the medical marijuana patients in this state.

CMMNJ endorsed legalization of marijuana in New Jersey in January 2014.* CMMNJ believes that ending cannabis prohibition is the best way to get the right medicine to the most people.

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) passed into law in January 2010, yet only about 15,000 patients have received ID cards from the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP), in a state with almost nine million people. Hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey could benefit from marijuana therapy—perhaps a million or more. Garden State residents have a one in three chance of a cancer diagnosis and a one in three chance of chronic pain at some time in their lives. Moreover, we all die, and marijuana can help with some of the typical symptoms associated with terminal illness better than any other drug. Legalizing marijuana for adults would make it more like an over-the-counter drug, and less like a prescription drug, that is now prohibitively expensive for so many patients in the state. Legalizing marijuana will make medical marijuana like aspirin--a drug any adult can buy in a local store, without going to a doctor every couple of months for a recommendation, or having to go to one of only five Alternative Treatment Centers in the state to pick it up.

But CMMNJ also recognizes the failure of the current policy of marijuana prohibition, the harm to society that marijuana prohibition causes, and the disproportionate racial impact of this policy. Colorado has demonstrated that there are many financial and social benefits that can be anticipated from legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adults.

Included in your packets of information is a 2-page report from Peter Rosenfeld, a CMMNJ Board member who provides a response to concerns about increased teen use with legalization, driving and other automobile issues, increased crime, and home cultivation.

My senator, Shirley Turner from the 15th District, said in a letter to me that she was “reluctant to support the legalization of marijuana due to my strong concerns about the message that the legalization of a mind-altering drug sends to our children” among other concerns. I have addressed a number of her concerns (increased potency of marijuana, the Gateway theory, drugged driving in Colorado, etc.) in my reply letter to Senator Turner, which I have included a copy of in the packet of information to this committee.

In my letter, I discuss the unique perspective I had on our country’s experiment in mass incarceration. When I started working for the NJDOC in 1984, there were 9,000 inmates in the state system. When I retired from the NJDOC in 2006, there were 27,000 inmates in the state system (86% of them were Black or Hispanic, which I attributed to Institutional Classism, not Institutional Racism). In the 22 years that I worked at the DOC, the inmate population tripled. I saw firsthand the negative impact this policy has had on our society. In short, it is not possible to incarcerate your way out of a drug problem. Drug abuse is a health issue. It should be dealt with by the Health Department, and through honest education, not government indoctrination. The Criminal Justice System only makes the problem worse.

The culture of prohibition is unable to establish reasonable regulations regarding cannabis use. For example, it makes no sense to say minors should not use marijuana if you are saying at the same time that adults are also forbidden from using marijuana. It makes no sense to forbid marijuana use while driving a car, if marijuana use is also forbidden while not driving a car. With legalization of marijuana in New Jersey, we have the opportunity to create reasonable regulations regarding marijuana age restrictions, and use restrictions, that residents will be more likely to adhere to.

Also in your packets I have also included a CMMNJ press release about the upcoming national “Patients Out of Time” (POT) conference that is coming to Jersey City May 10 – 12, 2018. The theme of this year’s conference is “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction.”

POT conferences bring together some of the top marijuana researchers from across the country and from around the world. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the science of marijuana/cannabis, and how marijuana actually works in the human body. The emerging science of the Endocannabinoid System is only about 25 years old. Only 13% of the medical schools in the country even mention this important system that interacts with all the other systems in the body. But the science surrounding this system is indisputable and exciting new discoveries are made every year. Dr. Jahan Marcu, one of the top researchers in this field, said, “The future of therapeutics depends heavily on understanding this system.”

CMMNJ’s brochure on the Endocannabinoid System, “How your body is built for cannabis” is included in CMMNJ’s packet of information to this committee.

CMMNJ endorses a system of affirmative action in the newly emerging legal marijuana industry for the communities that have been most devastated by the decades-long war on marijuana—the inner cities. The legal marijuana industry will provide ample new employment opportunities. Minority residents in the inner cities must not be excluded from this emerging industry, but instead should be given preference in this industry, at a minimum in terms of opportunities in the inner cities. Assemblywoman Quijano, I look forward to seeing a copy of your bills that include provisions for automatic expungement for marijuana offenses, and tax breaks for marijuana businesses in Urban Enterprise Zones.

In closing, I’d like to say that we do not need to “slow down” our march towards social justice in New Jersey. We do not need to slow down our efforts to end the destructive, ineffective and counterproductive War on Marijuana. We need to speed these efforts up.

CMMNJ is grateful for the leadership shown by Governor Murphy and other elected officials on this issue. CMMNJ welcomes the coming legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana for adults in New Jersey.

Sincerely yours,

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ  08618
www.cmmnj.org   ohamkrw@aol.com
609.394.2137

* “Opinion: N.J. should legalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” Wolski, K., The Times of Trenton, 1/24/14. 

http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2014/01/opinion_nj_should_legalize_tax.html#incart_river_default

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits of medical marijuana.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for March 13, 2018


Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Twp. Library, Rm. #3 
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 7-9 PM

Approve February 2018 minutes. Discuss:

CMMNJ met with DOH Deputy Commissioner Jackie Cornell on 2/28/18 as part of Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6 to expand and improve access to the Medicinal Marijuana Program. CMMNJ urges extensive revisions to the MMP. "It was a program designed to keep people out of it," said Ken Wolski, in NJ.com. "It’s a program that’s not meeting the needs of the patients.” The Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) Review Panel said 43 petitions should be added to the MMP; the DOH must act by 4/25/18.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ was invited to give oral and written testimony in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ at the Trenton Statehouse on March 5, 2018. Follow up committee meetings planned for 4/21 @ 10 am at Rowan U., Glassboro, and 5/12 @10 am at Bergen C.C., Paramus.

Advocates speak up at local council meetings throughout the state in support of marijuana reform.

March 10, 2018--15th anniversary of CMMNJ’s first public event at the White Dog Café.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).
Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail over one year; found guilty of nothing! Free him!

Pennsylvania medical marijuana available for purchase on Feb. 15, and a total of six dispensaries open across the state that week.

Upcoming Events:
Marijuana rally in Trenton on April 20th (420) from 9 am to 3 pm.
Trenton Cannabis Community meeting 3/14/18 at Artworks, Trenton.
“Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Patients Out of Time conference, Jersey City, 5/10–12/18. (Ken speaking on a panel 5/10; also NJ women veterans speaking. Press release sent 2/6/18.)
Nonprofit collaboration 3/15 in Woodbridge, 8-1pm.

Treasury report: Checking: $2951; PayPal: $3235; (1000 new ECS brochures purchased).

CMMNJ's meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Twp., 08648. All are welcome. (Meeting at the library does not imply Mercer County’s endorsement of our issue.)

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org
Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.


Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
February 13, 2018

January 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #6 to expand and improve access to the Medicinal Marijuana Program at a Press Conference in Trenton on 1/23/18. DOH & BME given 60 days to come up with new rules. "I'm very pleased the governor has taken such a strong stand to expand the program," Wolski said in NJ.com.

Trenton Cannabis Community meeting on 2/7/18 at Artworks in Trenton; discussion involved marijuana reform & breaking the stigma, voter registration & other local activity, getting patients into the medical program, preparing for the new industry. Follow up meeting planned for March 14th. 

NJ’s legalization bill re-introduced in new legislative session (S830 / A1348): Facebook’s “Friends of CMMNJ” letter template in support of home cultivation, addressing concerns.

The Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) Review Panel said 43 petitions should be added to the MMP; the DOH commissioner must act by 4/25/18. CMMNJ urges extensive amendments to CUMMA.

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

CMMNJ joined MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce; Ken attended a meeting at the Am. Heart Assn. 2/7.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail nearly one year; found guilty of nothing! Free him!

Upcoming Events: “CMMNJ TV” taping at Princeton TV studio, February 15, 2018.
“Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Patients Out of Time conference, Jersey City, 5/10–12/18—Ken speaking on a panel 5/10; also NJ women veterans speaking. Press release sent 2/6/18.
Nonprofit collaboration 3/15/18 in Woodbridge, 8 am – 1pm.

Treasury report: Checking: $3101; PayPal: $3162 (1000 new ECS brochures purchased).

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.

Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:




How New Jersey's push to legalize marijuana could impact Staten Island
http://www.silive.com/news/2018/02/new_jersey_legalized_marijuana_impact_staten_island.html

New Jersey’s Path to Marijuana Legalization
https://www.freedomleaf.com/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization/

NJ marijuana legalization: How to get a marijuana license in cutthroat weed market
https://www.app.com/story/news/local/public-safety/2018/02/08/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-license-weed-phil-murphy-medical/1084268001/

Nevada marijuana model studied by New Jersey group
https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/pot-news/nevada-marijuana-model-studied-by-new-jersey-group/

Verona Council Ponders Gov. Phil Murphy's Plan to Legalize Pot
https://www.tapinto.net/towns/bloomfield/articles/verona-council-ponders-gov-phil-murphys-plan-to-5

Ocean County freeholder calls weed more addictive than cocaine; experts disagree
https://www.app.com/story/news/politics/ocean-county/2018/02/08/ocean-county-freeholder-calls-weed-more-addictive-than-cocaine/318624002/

Murphy cautiously expanding NJ’s growing medical marijuana program
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/opinion/editorials/murphy-cautiously-expanding-nj-s-growing-medical-marijuana-program/article_fa9f1d90-7d0a-5612-91d3-61ea4e6f6491.html

"Reefer Madness" Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop
https://www.tapinto.net/sections/government/articles/reefer-madness-comes-to-chatham-borough-council

N.J. medical marijuana: These big changes could be coming to state's program
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/02/review_of_medical_marijuana_could_bring_these_chan.html

Toms River Council Tables Marijuana Ordinance
https://patch.com/new-jersey/tomsriver/toms-river-council-tables-marijuana-ordinance

Rice, Singer to introduce bipartisan marijuana decriminalization bill
https://www.politico.com/states/new-jersey/story/2018/02/14/rice-singer-to-introduce-bipartisan-marijuana-decriminalization-bill-253118

Memory of child with cancer inspires push to expand N.J. medical marijuana program
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/02/memory_of_child_with_cancer_spurs_bill_expanding_m.html

Legal Medical Marijuana Sales Begin At Pennsylvania Facility
https://www.pharmpro.com/news/2018/02/legal-medical-marijuana-sales-begin-pennsylvania-facility

Keystone Kush, wax and shatter: Here's what medical marijuana products you can find in Pa.
http://www.pennlive.com/news/2018/02/medical_marijuana_names_prices_pa.html

New N.J. medical marijuana bill calls for more dispensaries, edibles
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/02/new_bill_calls_for_medical_marijuana_overhaul_in_n.html

N.J. medical marijuana growers are ready to expand. Will Phil Murphy let them?
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/02/medical_marijuana_growers_were_ready_to_expand_for.html

N.J. marijuana legalization: Some urge New Jersey to slow the rush toward legal weed
https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/02/20/some-urge-new-jersey-slow-rush-toward-legal-marijuana/355249002/

First hearing on recreational marijuana held in Jersey City
http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/27547311/article-To-legalize-or-not------First-hearing-on-recreational-marijuana-held-in-Jersey-City-?instance=latest_story

N.J. to decide if weed should be taken off list of most dangerous drugs
http://www.nj.com/marijuana/2018/02/nj_to_review_how_marijuana_is_classified_under_sta.html

61 Incredible Benefits of Marijuana (Backed by Science)
https://www.herbonaut.com/benefits-of-marijuana/

New Jersey Assembly weighs marijuana legalization during day-long hearing
https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/03/05/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-hearing-update/100563/

NJ Assembly Hearing On Cannabis, High Praises Of Plant
https://headynj.com/nj-assembly-hearing-on-cannabis-sings-high-praises-of-plant/

How Did Cannabis Legalization Stall in New Jersey?
https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/how-did-cannabis-legalization-stall-in-new-jersey

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

National POT Conference Coming to New Jersey in May 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Ken @ (609) 394-2137

National POT Conference Coming to New Jersey in May 2018

WHO:      “Patients Out of Time” http://www.medicalcannabis.com/
WHAT:    12th national conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction”
WHEN:     May 10 – 12, 2018
WHERE:   Loew’s Movie Palace, 54 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ
WHY:       Accredited educational program for healthcare professionals, patients and advocates

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, the President of “Patients Out of Time” (POT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization, is bringing her highly regarded cannabis/marijuana conference to New Jersey this year. POT’s 12th national conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” will be held May 10 – 12, 2018 at Loew’s Movie Palace, 54 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ. Registration information is available at: http://patientsoutoftime.org/the-twelfth-national-clinical-conference-on-cannabis-therapeutics/

The POT conference is an excellent way for physicians to earn CMEs, and nurses and other healthcare professionals to earn contact hours (CEUs) for their continuing education requirements, while learning about the science that supports the use of marijuana/cannabis. POT conferences bring together some of the top marijuana researchers from across the country and from around the world.  Medical marijuana patients and activists are also represented at these conferences.

The theme of the conference is particularly relevant to New Jersey this year. Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #6 on January 23, 2018 directing the Department of Health and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) and make recommendations to expand it and ease access to it. The governor said that expanding the MMP will “ensure that (patients) are receiving (medical marijuana) tailored to their medical needs, and make them less likely to turn to potentially more harmful and less medically appropriate drugs such as opioids, the use of which was declared a public health crisis.” See: http://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-6.pdf

Ken Wolski, RN of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey and on the Board of Advisors of Patients Out of Time, has attended eight (8) POT conferences since 2004. “It has been fascinating to watch the developments in the science of the Endocannabinoid System—how marijuana actually works in the human body—as more discoveries about this amazing system are made every year,” he said.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618
609.394.2137
ohamkrw@aol.com
info@cmmnj.org