Friday, May 29, 2009

New Jersey Legislative Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled


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

New Jersey Legislative Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled

WHO:  The Health and Senior Services Committee of the New Jersey State Assembly

WHAT:   Will consider the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” (A804)

WHEN:   Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Committee Room #16 in the New Jersey State House Annex


The Health and Senior Services Committee of the New Jersey State Assembly will conduct a hearing on “The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” A804, on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in Committee Room # 16 in the State House Annex.  The Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc., (CMMNJ) has supported this bill since it was originally introduced in January 2005.  The assembly health committee held an informational hearing on the bill in May 2008, but the upcoming hearing will be the committee’s first opportunity to vote on the issue.  “We hope that the bill will pass out of committee with a recommendation for a favorable vote by the entire Assembly,” said Ken Wolski, RN, Executive Director of CMMNJ.  The New Jersey Senate approved the bill in February 2009 and Governor Jon Corzine has promised to sign the bill when it gets to his desk.  Attorney General Anne Milgram has said that the bill is “workable,” and every major newspaper in New Jersey has editorially endorsed this bill.  Americans approve of medical marijuana by an overwhelming margin, according to all polls.   Nurse Wolski calls marijuana a safe, effective and inexpensive therapeutic agent and is convinced that marijuana will be legal for patients to use throughout the country, eventually.  “Yet every day,” he said, “I hear of another seriously ill New Jersey patient who is suffering needlessly without it, or who has been arrested for using medical marijuana.  This is not only inhumane; it is a terrible waste of state resources.”


Many professional healthcare organizations have endorsed medical marijuana including the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the New Jersey League for Nursing, and the New Jersey Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.   However, marijuana is not available in pharmacies yet, so New Jersey patients or their caregivers would have to grow their own marijuana, as patients are allowed to do in the 13 other states that approve its use.  The senate version of the bill provided for the establishment of collective gardens in the form of Alternative Treatment Centers.  If approved, New Jersey would be the 14th state in the U.S. to pass legislation protecting patients who use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. 


For more info, contact:


Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director

Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
844 Spruce St., Trenton, NJ  08648

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Medical Marijuana Bill Scheduled for June 4, 2009!

The Assembly's Health and Senior Services committee just scheduled a hearing for June 4, 2009 with A804, the Assembly version  of the Compasionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, on the agenda!

The Senate has already passed their version of the bill. It's likely that the Health Committee will vote to move this out to the full Assembly. The full Assembly is likely to pass the bill and the Governor has said he will sign it. So this is a very important step to finally enacting this bill.

With all the surrounding states - NY, PA and Del - considering medical marijuana bills, I hope our state can enact ours first and be a leader instead of a follower.

Monday, May 25, 2009

CMMNJ at the National Constitution Center Ken Wolski and Jim Miller

CMMNJ at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia

Ken Wolski and Jim Miller presented information from the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey (CMMNJ) at the Kirby Auditorium at the National Constitution Center in April 2009.

Wolski spoke about the history of American medical cannabis and the civil liberties aspect of prohibition.

Miller spoke about his wife Cheryl, an MS patient who was the catalyst for medical cannabis access in NJ. Cheryl challenged the legislature, law enforcement and residents to consider medical marijuana. She died of MS complications in 2003. Cheryl Miller’s wheelchair remained on the stage throughout the Forum.

Photo: C. David Freitag 2009

CMMNJ Medical Marijuana Radio PSA

CMMNJ Medical Marijuana Radio PSA

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey now has a 30-second radio public service announcement or PSA available for radio stations and online broadcasters.


Longtime medical marijuana supporter and CMMNJ volunteer Diane Fornbacher voiced the script. Diane was a personal friend of Cheryl Miller and will voice a set of new PSAs and announcements soon.

CMNNJ supporters are encouraged to download the MP3 and send it via email or send links to radio stations, radio producers, podcasts, satellite radio shows and streaming internet programs.

We’ll let you know where you can hear the announcement next!

Medical Marijuana supporters are encouraged to produce volunteer media with text blogs, audio and video on sites like Youtube to support A804 in New Jersey.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MM debit cards?

Medical Marijuana, Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an (unknown) New Jersey medical marijuana cooperative to provide their "patent pending, stored value, tax remittance card. Bruce Perlowin, CEO of MJNA says, "Things are going really well. We started the Master Agent program a few weeks ago for our agents to show dispensaries the advantages with using our Stored Value Card. These latest dispensaries that have signed up continue to show the acceptance of our tax remittance program. This shows the power of our Master Agent program as it sweeps the country."

It also shows that the MM movement has gotten so strong that financial entrepreneurs see opportunities to make a lot of money. Very American.

If anybody is interested, Medical Marijuana, Inc. is conducting phone conferences this week to discuss their business. See the link above for more information.

By the way - The New Jersey legislation does not use the term "medical marijuana cooperatives". The Senate version of the bill (S119) allows "alternative treatment centers" which operative somewhat like non-profit cooperatives, but with very strict rules on how much they can grow per patient.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Supreme Court rejects appeal to overturn Ca. MM law,0,4902661.story

The Supreme Court rejected appeals from two "hold out" California counties that wanted the state medical marijuana law struck down because it violates the federal drug-control act.

This should totally remove the argument by some NJ Assemblypersons that we shouldn't pass a medical marijuana law because it will conflict with federal law.

Great news.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Getting NJ Medical Marijuana Bill Passed

This is a blurry photo that I took when the NJ Senate passed bill S119, the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" , on Feb.23, 2009. Since then, the Assembly version, A804, has been sitting in the Health and Senior Services Committee. If it ever gets out of committee it is likely to pass the full Assembly and the Governor has said he will sign it. But if it doesn't get out for a vote this session, I believe the process has to start over again from the beginning. Not to mention that medical marijuana patients are getting arrested in NJ while no action is taken, not to mention the thousands of serious ill New Jerseyans who could benefit from the bill during this time.

Please everybody, write the members of the Assembly Health and Senior Service Committee asking them to move this bill out as soon as possible. You can go to and click on "Health and Senior Services" on the right and you'll get a list of the member names. Click on the individual members names to email them or get their phone numbers and call them. Especially Chairman Herb Conaway, who can be emailed through his website:
Note that some H&SS Committee members, like Connie Wagner, are cosponsors of the bill and have worked hard to get the bill to where it is.

Patients Arrested: NJ Needs Medical Marijuana Law Passed

Patients Being Arrested: NJ Needs Medical Marijuana Law Passed

Chris Goldstein and Ken Wolski

We at CMMNJ and other advocates for medical marijuana speak about the patients who need this therapy so desperately. Many patients are waiting in pain for this bill to pass and refuse to engage in the underground marijuana market, fearing the legal sanctions if they are caught.

Some New Jersey patients, already forced into the underground market by the lack of a legal program, are being hauled to jail and threatened with decades of prison time for choosing a medicine that is already legal in 13 states.

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey hears directly from these patients when they are arrested. These cases highlight the pressing and immediate need to have the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act passed by the state Assembly this year, in 2009. These suffering individuals should not have to wait for the legal protections and freedom of treatment afforded to millions of other Americans.

MS Patient in Somerville
“New Jersey multiple sclerosis (MS) patient John Ray Wilson, 36, was told by Superior Court Judge Robert Reed during a pre-trial hearing in Somerville, NJ that he faces 35 years in prison for growing a few marijuana plants that he used to treat his MS. Wilson was arrested on August 18, 2008 after the New Jersey State Police Marijuana Eradication Squad found his garden. Wilson was charged with “manufacturing” marijuana, despite his diagnosis of MS, despite a statement in support of medical marijuana by the National MS Society, and despite pending legislation that would protect MS patients who use medical marijuana in New Jersey.” –from CMMNJ

Crohn’s Patient in Jackson
“ Mike and Marie Miceli of Jackson, NJ are some of the latest victims of a law that desperately needs to change. The New Jersey man who used medical marijuana as a last-resort treatment was arrested recently; his wife was also charged with a marijuana offense and the Division of Youth and Family Services seized their infant son. Mike has Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel condition that was diagnosed over ten years ago. He has constant diarrhea, nausea, absolutely no appetite and severe abdominal cramping. He takes a host of prescribed medications that are either ineffective or have intolerable side effects. On Thursday morning, September 4, 2008, the day of his arrest, he weighed 197 pounds. Two days later he had already lost nine pounds. He was wasting away and in severe pain. He has since endured prolonged hospitalization and major abdominal surgery. The arrest for his use of medical marijuana may turn out to be a death sentence for Mike Miceli.” –from CMMNJ

CA medical patient attends NJ Funeral, gets arrested
“Issac Jacobs (name changed by request) is a 55-year-old card-carrying medical marijuana patient from California. He has a recommendation from his physician to use marijuana for his serious medical condition. Recently, he flew to New Jersey to attend a funeral. While in a Costco parking lot here, he was found by police to be in possession of two marijuana cigarettes, or joints. He showed the police his medical marijuana card, issued by his county government in California. Instead of being let go, as he expected, he was detained, and his car was surrounded and searched by narcotics officers and dogs. He said he was treated like a major drug smuggler, and was told he faces mandatory jail time. He called me up to tell me his story and to ask if it was true that he was going to jail. Nonviolent drug offenders take up about one-third of all the prison beds in New Jersey, the highest proportion in the country. Mr. Jacobs was referred to a New Brunswick, NJ lawyer who is very experienced with marijuana cases. “–from CMMNJ

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act would offer legal protections to each of these individuals for their individual cases of medical cannabis use, possession, cultivation and holding a registry card from California.

All of these issues are clearly addressed in A804 and legal protections would shelter patients upon apssage of the bill.

Ken Wolski, co-founder of CMMNJ, is a registered nurse and long serving medical marijuana advocate. Wolski had this to say about these cases:

WOLSKI: “For just a single marijuana joint or a few marijuana seeds, the jail sentence medical patients face from a municipal court in New Jersey can be as much as six months. New Jersey also imposes a mandatory $500.00 penalty, and the law allows discretionary fines in addition to this. There are other penalties that are imposed on anyone in New Jersey found guilty of marijuana possession—even legitimate patients who are using marijuana under a doctor’s recommendation. According to the Center for Cognitive Liberty (, there are ranges of "collateral sanctions" that are triggered by a conviction for marijuana possession, even misdemeanor possession of less than 50 grams.

New Jersey imposes some of the most severe collateral sanctions in the nation on marijuana offenders. For example:

- private employers may deny employment based on conviction or arrests

- state and federal educational aid is denied by the Higher Education Act drug provision

- there is a 3-year ban from Public Housing; Ø there is a 5-year ban from adopting a child or becoming a Foster Parent

- there is a lifetime prohibition on possession of any firearm

- the driver's license may be suspended for six months to two years, even if the offense had nothing to do with a motor vehicle

- the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits may suspend hard-earned pension benefits due to incarceration.

As a result of these penalties, many marijuana offenders are surprised to find that the sentence actually imposed by the judge is less severe than the long-lasting social and legal consequences that follow from conviction, the Center for Cognitive Liberty said.

In short, then, New Jersey is prepared to throw patients in jail, fine them, deny these individuals employment, deny housing, deny transportation, deny education, deny income and deny parental rights...all for following the advice of their physicians.

If anyone still wonders if medical marijuana patients really get arrested in New Jersey, just ask these patients. I have heard from many many more. The excesses of this system are wretched indeed, and morally indefensible for legitimate medical marijuana patients to be treated in this manner."

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act is awaiting action by the Assembly Health Committee. Those in support of the bill are encouraged to contact their member of the Assembly and urge them to support A804.

Governor John Corzine has said he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Opponents of medical access scoff at patients being arrested. But the reality is clear: the most vulnerable among us need these legal protections and marijuana access through a state authorized program right now and should not have to wait beyond the 2009 New Jersey Legisaltive Sessions.

More information at

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Welcome to the CMMNJ Blog

Welcome to the new Coalition of Medical Marijuana-New Jersey Blogspot. Board members of the Coalition will be publishing information here about Coalition events as well as organizing efforts to support the passage of New Jersey's Medcical Marijuana Act. Stay tuned ...