Thursday, October 1, 2009

Warren County PTO President Busted for Medical Marijuana

According to the September 29, 2009 edition of the Express-Times, a Warren County, NJ mother, day care operator, and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) president faces many years in prison for marijuana manufacturing:
Responding to a tip, Greenwich Township police raided the home of Liz Kemp over the weekend and arrested the 42-year-old child care operator after they reportedly discovered 19 marijuana plants growing in her greenhouse.

Kemp, who is also listed as the PTO president for the Greenwich Township School District, is facing drug and child neglect charges, authorities said.

Kemp's husband, Glenn Warnick, 39, also faces charges of child neglect. Kemp was arraigned in state Superior Court in Belvidere then was held in the Warren County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Warnick is not incarcerated.

Police say Kemp operates the Second Home Child Care out of her home on Route 57 in Stewartsville. She describes the center as "a second home for your child to feel comfortable, safe and at home" on her 4-year-old Web site.

The charges against Kemp include possession or "manufacture" of marijuana, operating a marijuana-growing operation, possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two counts of child neglect are also included for allegedly growing the marijuana while caring for a child.
However, the plot thickened the next day when it was learned that the PTO mom suffered from severe anxiety and used the marijuana to treat her illness when traditional medications did not work for her. According to the September 30, 2009 edition of the Express-Times:
PTO mom who runs Greenwich Township day care uses marijuana to ease anxiety, sister says

Liz Kemp's sister Alexandra Spollen said Tuesday that her sibling uses marijuana to treat an anxiety disorder. Legal drugs have not been effective, she said, and left Kemp tired and depressed.

Spollen insisted her sister used 19 marijuana plants found growing in a greenhouse on her property for medicinal purposes only.

Kemp, the Greenwich Township PTO president, was arrested on drug and child neglect charges earlier this week and sent to Warren County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail...

Jim Miller, president of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, said the drug is often used to treat anxiety "without fear of side effects."

Anxiety, however, is not a disorder currently covered by legislation that would legalize medical marijuana if it makes its way to Gov. Jon Corzine's desk.

Jim Miller is correct. One should not confuse everyday anxiety with the kind of anxiety that makes a person see a psychiatrist for treatment. That kind of anxiety is a disorder that can be crippling. Psychiatrists routinely prescribe tranquilizers and sedatives--drugs that are far more dangerous and addicting than marijuana--to try to keep the patient functioning as normally and as productively as possible. But there are treatment failures--people who respond poorly to the prescribed medicine. What then? In California, these patients are allowed to use marijuana, with the recommendation of a physician. In the current issue (Summer 2009) of O'Shaughnessy's, four physicians from the Society of Cannabis Clinicians have detailed the reasons that they have recommended marijuana for over 10,000 of their patients. 17% of these patients were treated for Anxiety Disorder (ICD-9 code 300.00). This is a far more humane way to treat patients than to throw them in jail for 20 years. For another NJ patient who faces 20 years in prison for growing his own medicine to treat his multiple sclerosis, see:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Inc.
844 Spruce St.
Trenton, NJ 08648


  1. omg, it just gets worse. i'm wondering if she had any Vicodin or Xanax or any other potentially fatal drugs in her medicine cabinet. Makes no sense that one can have deadly drugs, but not safe ones.

  2. LOL!!! the word i had to enter for verification was "crock". coincidence? the universe is watching!

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