Friday, February 10, 2012

CMMNJ to protest DEA’s ruling that marijuana is not medicine

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

CMMNJ to protest DEA’s ruling that marijuana is not medicine

WHO: The Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
WHAT: Will destroy a copy of the DEA’s recent ruling that marijuana is not medicine
WHEN: Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12 noon
WHERE: Trenton Federal Building, 402 E. State St., Trenton, NJ 08608
WHY: New Jersey is one of 16 states that recognize marijuana as medicine

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ) will publicly destroy a copy of the Federal Register that contains a ruling by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that marijuana is not medicine. The demonstration is planned for Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12 noon in front of the Trenton Federal Building at 402 E. State St., Trenton, NJ. The demonstration will coincide with similar demonstrations across the country in honor of national Medical Marijuana Week (Feb. 13-17).

The Federal Register Vol. 76 No.131 dated July 8, 2011 contains the DEA’s most recent denial of a petition to reschedule marijuana. The DEA continues to insist that marijuana is appropriate as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States;” lack “accepted safety for use under medical supervision;” and, have “a high potential for abuse.”

Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ) said, “It is an outrage that the federal government continues to deny the benefits, and exaggerate the dangers of marijuana. This is an affront to the laws of 16 states, an affront to scores of healthcare organizations, an affront to the emerging science of medical marijuana, and an affront to countless patients nationwide who use marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation.”

Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana organization, suggests specific actions during Medical Marijuana Week:

1. Monday, February 13: Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama to keep his promise not to use Justice Department resources to undermine state laws.
2. Tuesday, February 14: Contact Congress, 202-224-3121, and urge your representative to sponsor legislation to reclassify cannabis and end federal interference in state programs.
3. Wednesday, February 15: Ask your Governor to sign the DEA Rescheduling Petition. Find your Governor's contact information by clicking here.
4. Thursday, February 16 @ Noon: Join a rally near you! Click here for a full list of rallies.
5. Friday, February 17: Help fund the fight for safe access. Find out how by clicking here.

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

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jim Miller returns to Washington, D.C.

This is the second of a series of blogs that I will write to chronicle the trips I will be making to Washington DC on behalf of U.S. military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as anybody else suffering from post traumatic stress. New Jersey has the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the country. Legislators who were in favor of it's passage were barraged with the concept of our state becoming like "the wild west of California" where anybody with a headache or a hangnail can get a registration card. In a misguided effort to ensure that wouldn't happen, supportive legislators decided they would take it upon themselves to decide who should get medical marijuana and who shouldn't. They stepped in between doctor and patient in the case of thousands of vulnerable New Jersey residents. Even though PTSD is an acceptable reason to be issued a medical marijuana registration card in other states, our legislators did not consider the scars of veterans' sacrifice to their country when they decided to play doctor. No card for you!

Now, according provisions in our state law, those wishing to have the Health Dept. add currently unapproved conditions to the acceptable list of indications for a medical marijuana registration card will need a clinical study in hand to apply. It is unacceptable that there is an FDA approved medical marijuana/veteran PTSD clinical study being blocked by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). I thank the CMMNJ for their support that allows me the ability to ensure everybody that all thirteen congressmen from NJ can no longer claim ignorance of the problem as an excuse for doing nothing about it. I don't go to DC to argue with them. I can't force them to take part. I can however make their reaction to my efforts to educate them public, something they would rather not happen. For many legislators it is a test to see if their fear of marijuana is greater than their fear of clinical tests being federally blocked that could save veterans' lives.

I love walking along the hallways of the congressional office buildings in Washington DC and looking at the legislator's names on the office doors that I pass. I get to walk right into the offices of friend and foe alike, at any office that I want, to represent any issue that is important to me. It is a right of mine as a U.S. citizen that I consider to be more valuable than my right to vote. Don't get me wrong. I vote every year even though my singular vote has never been the difference in an election, but that has never been enough for me. I want to not just have a voice, I want my voice to be heard, especially when it represents the views of seriously ill and injured Americans who cannot show up for themselves.

The cage rattling began on Dec. 6, 2011. I put the congressional delegation from NJ on notice that they had been served, so to speak, and left them with enough information to see if they would go further on their own or not. I told each that I would be by their office every couple of weeks to help keep them in the loop and get answers to any questions that they might have.

The real fun began on my return two weeks later on Dec. 20. I had over a dozen letters from constituents of representatives of other states to deliver to their congressional offices as well as followups to do at the NJ offices. I was able to take on the extra visits because CMMNJ supporter Larry Vargo volunteered to go with me and do some stops himself. After getting a late start at 5:00 AM, we made it to our first Senate Office Building in time for a bagel and coffee in the cafeteria before our goal of a 9:00 start. Then we headed off to the Senate offices we were going to go to together. We did initial visits to the offices of Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kohl (D-WI), Johnson (D-WI) Schumer (D-NY), and Feinstein(-CA) together before moving to the congressional offices on the other side of the Capitol Building. We did the first two followups together in the Cannon House Office Building at the offices of Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Leonard Lance. I was correct in my prediction to Larry that they would have done nothing in the two weeks since they were advised of the situation. Basically though, we were simply setting the hook for the third visit. I advised each available staff member that statistically speaking, 250 US military veterans had killed themselves in the two weeks since I first made them aware of NIDA's blockade of the FDA approved veteran suicide PTSD/medical marijuana clinical trial. I then stated the obvious, that doing nothing was not a good look for them, and it would only get worse as the weeks passed while the number of suicides of veterans with PTSD grew on their watch. I assured them that I would be making their response, or lack thereof, a part of their "permanent record' in the form of a soon to be established website for all to see. Now I apparently have to get a website up and running. Say, anybody want to help make that happen? It is exactly the "big stick" that Teddy Roosevelt talked about. The threat of public awareness.

Larry got started on his own followup visits to 9 of NJ's representatives while I did initial stops at several out of state legislators offices as well as followups at the offices of NJ Reps. Runyan and Holt. I was talking to the staffer manning the desk at the door of Rep.Holt's Longworth office and trying to convince him that he should ask Patrick to see me for a few minutes when in walked Rush Holt. He recognized me from a 20 second chat we had eight years earlier and walked over to me with that "hey...I know you" look. In the 10 minute conversation that followed he showed why he was the the first person one who was smart enough to beat the Jeopardy computer. There was a certain sort of irony when Rep. Holt called Patrick out of his office to introduce him to me instead of the other way around. Rep. Holt confirmed that he is a supporter of medical marijuana and agreed that this deserved looking into. Needless to say, I now have the attention of Holt's Senior Policy Advisor for Defense and Intelligence who will also be his point man on this issue. Then, after Larry and I were finished with the remainder of our otherwise uneventful day of "setting hooks" in anticipation of my third visit, we headed back to Union Station for a quick meal at the food court before delving into the inevitable traffic delays getting out of DC. Let them all have a nice holiday recess and put all of this talk of veteran suicide on hold while they enjoy time with their families.

It turned out that I didn't get back to DC again until five weeks later on Jan. 25. That gave everybody ample time to either assess the situation for themselves or do nothing at all. I visited all 13 NJ congressional offices and made an initial visit to Ron Paul's office as well. Rep. Paul had met Cheryl and me at a Capitol Hill press conference the year before Cheryl died. He was deeply affected by Cheryl's commitment to medical marijuana rights, as displayed by her willingness to travel to DC in such an advanced stage of MS. We talked in his office a month after Cheryl died, and now I was back to ask him for help, and to offer him an opportunity to possibly spring this issue on his rivals at a future Republican presidential debate. I was treated like an old friend by his staff and Adam gave me all the time I needed to make my point, a point easily made in THAT office. They clearly remembered Cheryl's activism and enjoyed a couple of stories that they had not heard as well. I will be following up with additional information for Adam to ponder as requested. Then I was off to inform New Jersey's 13 US Representatives that there had been 875 veteran suicides since my initial visit to their offices seven weeks earlier, many while everybody else was having a good holiday celebration with their families.

My third visits to the offices of Rothman, Pascrell, and Sires showed me that they had done some vetting of the issue. Andrews had a recent change in staff setting us back one visit in the timeline, but he figures to be a supporter anyway. Payne's office and Frelinghuysen's office told me that they would get me a statement by the end of the week. They did not. Kate, from Smith's office took the time to have a productive unhurried visit with me and took copious notes. I waited until the end of our conversation to tell her that I was no stranger to her boss and that our previous encounters had been acrimonious at best. I'm not sure that she believed me when I told her that I brought Cheryl's funeral flowers to his Whiting office so he could watch them die instead of me. I'm guessing the fourth visit will be interesting. Pallone's office had apparently done nothing, and I chose to NOT tell his staff yet that I had picketed his 1175 Ocean Ave. Long Branch home with Cheryl's "memorial" wheelchair a month after she died. The fact that they did NOT know who I was certainly indicates that this issue hadn't yet reached Pallone yet.

Patrick was not in at Holt's office, leaving that follow up to an email when I got back. No need to worry there though. Gene from Sire's office had not only done his homework, he seemed to be taking the issue pragmatically for a republican rather than seeing it as a partisan issue. He rightfully took me to task for not having all of the information he needed to know whether or not NIDA was willing to work with the researchers at the Multidiciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in order to meet the requirements for selling them government marijuana for the study. Considering that the FDA had had worked with MAPS in order to give their approval of the protocol for the study, it was indeed a logical question. My guess that NIDA will not relent was not good enough. Good one Gene! The others from New Jersey also expressed an interest in focusing on the exact stumbling block in NIDA'S refusal. All except David at Scott Garret's office. Not only was he condescending, he had absolutely no concept of the possibility that a Schedule 1 substance (marijuana) was even allowed to be studied in the US. He said it is his (Garrett's) position that they would not be looking into this unless somebody else initiates a response first. Then, and only maybe then, they might look into it. He actually asked me if I was recording him, as if he was worried that I might be able to accurately quote him.

Finally stopping by my representative's office (Jon Runyan) office last, I found Jennifer to be more cordial than she was at our first encounter. I'm not saying that the potential threat of media exposure had anything to do with it, but that IS what legislators respond to. She is now anxiously awaiting my followup email with a more precise evaluation of what needs to be done. Fair enough for now. My next scheduled trip to DC is Feb. 18, two days before over a thousand veterans will assemble at the Washington Monument and march to the White House in support of Ron Paul. I have met the organizer, Adam Kokesh, and hope he will include information about Rep. Paul's support for getting this study done during his event.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Monthly Public Meeting Agenda
Lawrence Township Library, Room #1
Tuesday, February 14, 2012; 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. Approve January 2012 minutes. Discuss:

January 18, 2012 Press Release and State House press conference. See media coverage, below.

National Medical Marijuana Week, 2/12-18; Rally at Trenton Federal Bldg., 2/16/12 at noon.

CO, RI, WA & VT Gov.’s petition the feds to reschedule marijuana. Encourage NJ to join.

CMMNJ supports FDA-approved study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD; stalled by NIDA. Jim Miller’s update of his ongoing efforts to educate congressmen in D.C. See also Facebook page: Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access

ATC hearing at Camden City Hall on Monday 2/6/12 at 5:30 pm; public testimony invited. Contact Frank Fulbrook at (856) 966-5340.

Upcoming events:
Rally to support Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion at Burlington Co. Court, Mt. Holly, April 10, 2012.
NORML NJ meeting at 7 pm on the 2nd Monday of each month, Joe’s, Trenton;
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Trenton, 3/17/12.
Major CMMNJ fund raiser planned for Feb. 24 & 25, 2012.
Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, 4/26-28/12, Tucson, AZ.
Metuchen MS Self-Help Group, 2/21/12 at 10 AM.
CMMNJ Board meeting scheduled for March 3, 2012 at noon at Ken’s house.

Treasury report: Checking: $2791; PayPal: $3046.

CMMNJ 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
January 10, 2012

7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. December 2011 minutes approved. Discussion:

January 18, 2012, the second anniversary of the NJ Compassionate Use Act; CMMNJ plans a Press Release and State House press conference. Chris to send invitations to legislators, et al. Ed to draft suggested bill amendments.

Four states (CO, RI, WA & VT) petition the feds to reschedule marijuana. Encourage NJ to join. 12/28/11: OP ED: Upper Freehold's plan to ban medical marijuana farms relies on flawed federal law

CMMNJ supports FDA-approved study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD; stalled by NIDA. Jim Miller gave an update on his ongoing efforts to educate congressmen in D.C. See also Facebook page: Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access

CMMNJ Board meeting scheduled for March 3, 2012 at noon at Ken’s house.

Frank Fulbrook’s update on ATC hearings at Camden City Hall. Next one is 2/6/12 at 5:30 pm; public testimony invited.

Upcoming events: Major CMMNJ fund raiser planned for Feb. 24 & 25, 2012. Save the dates!
Rally to support Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion at Burlington Co. Court, Mt Holly, April 10, 2012.
NORML NJ meeting at 7 pm on the 2nd Monday of each month, Joe’s, Trenton;
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Trenton, 3/17/12.
Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, 4/26-28/12, Tucson, AZ.

Treasury report: Checking: $3424; PayPal: $3072.

Next CMMNJ meeting: Feb. 14, 2012 from 7 -9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library. For more info, contact: Ken Wolski, RN (609) 394-2137

Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:

NJ’s failure to implement medical marijuana law after two full years:

Patients to protest 2-year delay of medical marijuana law in Trenton, 1/18/12

Medical Marijuana law: patients demand amendments and implementation

Open Letter to Governor Christie: Another hospice patient dies in needless pain

NJ communities resistant to medical marijuana centers; patients still seeking relief

Opinion: Medicinal pot program must be done right

Make Medical Marijuana a Reality in New Jersey

Opinion: Don’t Let NIMBY Derail NJ’s Medical Marijuana Law

2 years after being approved, N.J. medical marijuana program still at seedling stage

Neighbors blunt about medicinal marijuana dispensary plan

Time to embrace medical marijuana centers

Five Ways To Get Medical Marijuana Working in New Jersey

Questions remain on South Jersey medical marijuana facility

Lawsuit brewing over N.J. medical marijuana program

Editorial: Opposition to medical marijuana by towns is bred by misplaced fear

Lawmaker proposes to protect medical marijuana growers

Christie: Won't force NJ communities to accept medical pot farm, dispensary

N.J. towns need a nudge on medical marijuana

LA Talk Radio, 12/30/11:

NORML SHOW LIVE #837 – I Have a Dream, Too

Medical Pot Advocates Rally in Trenton [VIDEO]

Rally Held In Trenton For Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Rally at the Statehouse in Trenton (1/18/12)

Video: New Jersey medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Herald News: Medical pot law stalls

N.J. legislators get busy removing medical marijuana roadblocks

Garden State’s Medical Marijuana Has Not Taken Root in Two Years

State rep. seeks to remove roadblocks to pot program

John Wilson and other current victims:

N.J. Supreme Court won't hear case of multiple sclerosis patient jailed for growing marijuana

NJTV Video coverage of John Wilson 1/27/12:

NJ Gov Christie Last Hope for Medical Marijuana Patient

NJ Supreme Court: 5 Years in Prison for MS Patient Growing Marijuana

Pot-growing MS patient / Commute sentence

Medical Marijuana Patient Surrenders Today; Pardon Sought from Gov Christie

The Panic Hour Presents: New Jersey is MS’ed up

Chris Christie: The Drug War Has Failed

Also, follow John Wilson of Facebook at:

Eric Hafner is another victim of New Jersey's failure to enact its overly restrictive law.


More on Eric Hafner: “I’m Not Going to Plead Guilty to Using My Medicine.”

Ed Forchion (NJWeedman):
Times are not so high for N.J. pot advocate

Recent News:

Marijuana Smoking Not Linked to Chronic Breathing Problems

Medical marijuana helped cancer patient improve

42 Wash. lawmakers ask DEA to reclassify marijuana

The Case for Treating PTSD in Veterans With Medical Marijuana

Iraq War Veterans Turn to Marijuana for Managing PTSD Symptoms

Decriminalize marijuana in New Jersey

Israeli researchers say more doctors should recommend marijuana to cancer patients

Tucson Will Be Toke Town In April: Medical Cannabis Conference

Also, follow CMMNJ on Facebook at: