Sunday, September 5, 2010

CMMNJ September 2010 Monthly Public Meeting Agenda

Monthly Public Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, September 14, 2010; 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Lawrence Twp. Library (Mercer County) Room #3

7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. Approve August 2010 minutes. Discuss:

Sen. Nick Scutari introduced a Resolution to support the federal medical marijuana bill (HR 2835) which also reschedules marijuana. The senator met with CMMNJ representatives on 9/1/10. Scutari expects the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act to be implemented in Jan. 2011; AP reports the NJ Patient Registry is due next month from DHSS.

Stakeholders Meeting and benefit dinner a huge success. ASA is working with CMMNJ to implement the NJ law and pass federal, state, and local legislation to protect patients. Join ASA.

CMMNJ begins physician education of medical marijuana with Medical Grand Rounds at Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth, NJ on 9/23 from 9-10 am. CMMNJ also begins Patient Advisory Group meetings at the City Hall Caucus Room in Jersey City, 10/20, 7-9 pm, & at the Collingswood Public Library on 9/16 and 10/27, 7-9 pm. Tourette Syndrome OK’d in NJ.

Upcoming CMMNJ events/appearances: NORML conference, Portland, OR 9/9-11; Boston Freedom Rally 9/18; Before the Bridge Music Festival, Collingswood, NJ 9/18; Garden State Elder Care, Elberon, NJ 9/24, 1- 2:30 pm; 40th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival, Madison, WI 10/1-3; Lawrence Twp. Community Day, Bergen Park 10/3; Hydro Comics, Crossroads, Garwood, NJ 10/22; Louis Bay Library, Hawthorne, NJ 10/27, 9:30 – 11 am; NJ League of Municipalities conference, Atlantic City 11/15-18/10. Web site revamp.

Treasury report: Checking: $7,058; PayPal: $3,189. Tax-deductible donations to CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, may be made through Paypal on our web site, or send a check made out to “CMMNJ” to the address below. Get a free t-shirt for a donation above $15—specify size.

CMMNJ’s meetings are the second Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Twp., Tel. #609.882.9246. All are welcome. (Meeting at the library does not imply their endorsement of our issue.) For more info, contact: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. 219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618 (609) 394-2137

Monthly Public Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, August 10, 2010;
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Lawrence Twp. Library, Mercer County, NJ

7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. July 2010 minutes approved. Discussion:

On 7/23/10, Rutgers University declined the request from the Christie administration to be the sole producer of NJ’s medical marijuana. Doing so might jeopardize millions in federal funding, the dean of the biological school said. See CMMNJ’s press releases and media comments. In June, Christie signed a 90-day delay in implementing the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. This law does not need any more delays or trial balloons. The DHSS will tightly regulate the ATCs. Highly qualified private citizens are ready to take on the risks in order to serve patients. The medical marijuana law should be implemented as it is written without further delay. Strategy session. Funding for media blitz? Faces of ATC operators?
CMMNJ had a confidential meeting on 8/5/10 with DHSS officials who will implement the law.

The governor’s pardon for MS patient John Wilson was rejected by the Christie administration as they await proof of his medical condition. Wilson is also appealing his 5-yr. prison term.

Diane Fornbacher & Victor Pinho are coordinating Patients Advisory Groups. Svet Milic, Peter Rosenfeld, & Frank Fulbrook are coordinating the ATC Advisory Board.

Temple U. cannabinoid researcher Jahan Marcu reports on IACM Conference in Sweden he attended. New cannabinoid receptors are being discovered. CBD may prevent colon cancer.

Upcoming CMMNJ events: Rittenhouse Square Concert Series 8/11, 8/18 & 8/25; Stakeholders Meeting with ASA’s Steph Sherer 8/21 10-4PM at the NJ State Museum Auditorium, Trenton; $20 admission; Hyatt Regency Princeton, NJ benefit dinner 8/20, $100 admission; NORML conference, Portland, OR 9/9-11. Boston Freedom Rally 9/18. NJ League of Municipalities conference, Atlantic City 11/15-18/10.

Treasury report: Checking: $5,200; PayPal: $2,300.

The next CMMNJ meeting will be 9/14/10 (the second Tuesday of each month.)
Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, 219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618

By Trish Graber | August 23rd, 2010 - 5:32pm
Law Would Protect Patients, Providers Against Arrest
TRENTON – Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union) today introduced a measure urging Governor Christie to support and advocate for federal legislation that would provide legal protection to patients who use medical marijuana in compliance with state laws.
The Senator’s bill would express the Legislature’s support and urge the Governor to support and advocate for H.R. 2835, known as the “Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act.” In states with legalized medical marijuana, H.R. 2835 would protect patients, prescribing doctors, distributors and anyone authorized to obtain, possess or distribute marijuana on behalf of a patient against arrest and prosecution by federal authorities.
“We need to be sure that New Jerseyans who comply with our medical marijuana law are not at risk of being harassed, arrested or prosecuted by federal law enforcement officials,” said Senator Scutari, the prime sponsor of the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.” “With this measure, we will send a unified message to the federal government that we support the rights of states with medical marijuana laws to carry them out, and that we believe patients deserve protections. We will also respectfully urge the Governor to join our effort to protect patients in New Jersey who are suffering with debilitating illnesses and seeking a small measure of relief through the medicinal use of marijuana.”
New Jersey is one of 14 states with laws allowing patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Under federal law, however, it remains illegal to use, possess or cultivate marijuana and no physician can legally prescribe it. H.R. 2835 also would transfer marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to Schedule II, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, statutorily recognizing its medical value and allowing doctors to prescribe it.
“Nearly a third of the country has recognized the medical benefits of marijuana and passed laws permitting its use. I’m proud that we were among them, but I won’t be satisfied until we have assurances from the federal government that patients who are sick and dying will not be thrown behind bars in their attempt to get much-needed relief,” said Senator Scutari. “It’s time the federal government work to resolve conflicting state and federal policies that will put thousands of New Jersey patients, caregivers and doctors at risk of incarceration.”
The Senator’s measure follows reports that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids continue to take place in states with legalized medical marijuana, despite an October 2009 directive from the office of United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asserting that law enforcement should not focus federal resources “on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”
According to published reports, DEA officials raided the home of a Denver marijuana grower earlier this year after he spoke to a television news station about the profitability of his business. Two Colorado laboratories testing marijuana for pesticides and potency also were raided after they applied for licenses from the DEA. As a result, federal legislators in Colorado sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder calling for the raids to stop.
Noting the grower’s case, the Los Angeles Times has called for the federal government to provide more clarity on medical marijuana policy. The newspaper noted that it may not be possible to rely on further direction from the DEA because “it’s not entirely clear that (Acting DEA Administrator Michele) Leonhart ever received Holder’s memo.”
The “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” was signed into law in January. The state is approaching an Oct. 1 deadline to begin implementation of the program, after a 90-day delay requested by the Christie Administration and agreed upon by the Legislature.
Contact Info:
Trish Graber
Senate Majority Office

Americans for Safe Access online:
Read the full text of NJ's medical marijuana law:

NJ medical marijuana advocates want regulations
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eyewitness News
TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey legalized medical marijuana eight months ago, but its advocates are finding that a law alone doesn't get the drug to patients.
About 70 activists - including potential patients, entrepreneurs who would like to sell pot, doctors who might prescribe it and lawyers - gathered Saturday in Trenton to try to hash out what they would like a distribution system to look like and consider how to get policymakers on their side.
"Passing a law is the easy part of what you have to do," said Stephanie Scherer, the director of the national medical marijuana patients group Americans for Safe Access. Some group members who attended the gathering wore suit coats and ties, while others donned Hawaiian shirts with prints of marijuana buds.
The advocates have several hopes for the regulations the state is devising. Among them: If the state seeks to set price controls, the advocates want the cannabis expensive enough that growers could afford to sell it but not too costly for patients, who say the drug can reduce pain and nausea and increase appetite.
Figuring out how to regulate medical marijuana has been a conundrum in the 14 states that have legalized it, largely because it's still illicit in the eyes of the federal government.
The businesses that sell the product are all technically running afoul of federal law - and so are their customers, even if their states allow it.
In New Jersey, allowing medical marijuana was one of the last acts of former Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat who signed a law that is the most restrictive among those adopted across the country. But he left many of the details to his successor, Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
While Christie supports the idea, he's been cautious about how to enact it.
In recent months, his administration looked into a novel plan that would have had the state's crop grown by Rutgers University and distributed by some of the state's hospitals. That idea was nixed, though, when Rutgers determined playing such a role would have been illegal.
Dawn Thomas, a state Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman, says it's working on establishing registry for patients and is meeting developing regulations. After getting an extension from the original deadline of July 1, the state has until October to publish the regulations.
The state law calls for six nonprofit alternative treatment centers around the state to grow and sell the marijuana initially, though for-profit businesses could later get licenses.
Activists also are encouraged that state officials have met with them in recent weeks after months of refusing to do so.
"We left the meeting confident that the Department of Health is trying to implement the law," said Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey. He's hopeful patients will be able to legally buy marijuana by next March.
However, there are parts of the law that advocates already say need to be changed. They would like patients suffering from a wider variety of medical conditions - currently only six are recognized - to be eligible.
And they want registered patients to be allowed to grow their own pot.
Scherer said other states have been considering some features of the New Jersey law that trouble advocates, such as barring patients from growing their own stashes.
(Copyright ©2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More at:

Testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee by: Kenneth R. Wolski, RN, MPA
In support of HB 1393, the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" August 19, 2010

I am a registered nurse (RN) licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and I have been doing so for the past 36 years. I was awarded the post-graduate degree Master of Public Administration (MPA) by Rutgers University in 1992. My professional opinion is that marijuana is a safe, effective and inexpensive therapeutic agent that should be available to any patient who can benefit from it.

Currently, I am Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ). The mission of CMMNJ is to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana. In 2003, I co-founded CMMNJ with Jim Miller, whose wife, Cheryl, was an MS patient who died before she could ever legally use medical marijuana. The story of Cheryl Miller is told in a booklet entitled "Patients in the Crossfire" that was produced by the national organization, Americans for Safe Access. This booklet tells the personal stories of patients whose lives were uprooted by the government's refusal to acknowledge the science that supports medical marijuana. The booklet also tells the story of James Burton, a man I met in Amsterdam in 1993. Mr. Burton had just been released from an American prison where he had spent the previous year as a result of following the advice of his physician. Burton had glaucoma and no medicine was helping his condition—he was going blind. His eye doctor recommended marijuana. Burton, a farmer, grew marijuana to use. He was arrested, tried and convicted, despite his doctor's testimony at his trial. While he was in prison, the government seized his home and his farm. Burton's story of social injustice first sensitized me to the plight of medical marijuana patients.

In 2004 the American Nurses Association (ANA) adopted a Position Statement on "Providing Patients Safe Access to Marijuana/Cannabis." The ANA recognized:
• that marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries; and,
• that marijuana has been shown to be effective for a wide range of symptoms and conditions; and,
• that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis.
The ANA supports legislation to remove criminal penalties including arrest and imprisonment for bona fide patients of therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. The ANA supports federal and state legislation to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug. The ANA represents 2.7 million RN's in the U.S. Registered nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals in the nation and we are, according to Gallup polls, the most trusted profession in the nation.

I have no doubt that medical marijuana will eventually be permitted throughout the United States. There is too much logic, common sense, compassion and science that supports it. Logic says that doctors prescribe far more dangerous and addicting drugs than marijuana every day; common sense says that this issue ought to be decided in the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, in the best interest of the patient; compassion says that no patient should suffer needlessly; and there is a wealth of scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana.

Thank you for your anticipated support of HB 1393, the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act." With your help, we can ensure that no patient in Pennsylvania suffers needlessly or gets imprisoned for following the advice of a physician. And thank you for the opportunity to address this committee.

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

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