Thursday, August 9, 2012
WHO: Medical marijuana patients and advocates
WHAT: Will discuss the Patient Registration for the Medicinal Marijuana Program
WHEN: Thursday, August 9, 2012 from 11am - 12:00 noon
WHERE: The State House, Trenton, NJ
WHY: While this represents progress, patients will still have difficulty accessing the program
Medical marijuana patients and advocates will discuss the newly opened patient registration process for the Medicinal Marijuana Program at the State House in Trenton, NJ on Thursday, August 9, 2012 from 11am - 12:00 noon.
The “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" was signed into law on January 18, 2010. While not a single patient in this state has yet enjoyed the legal protection that this law was designed to provide, the state Department of Health will begin the process of issuing ID cards to qualifying patients. Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) said, “We are glad to see that the patient registration process has finally gotten started. There are significant hurdles for patients to contend with, however, and it remains to be seen how successful this program will be.”
The New Jersey Department of Health has redesigned the Medicinal Marijuana Program link on its web site. See: http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/index.shtml The web site now includes a Patient Registration Process. In order to begin the registration process, patients must have a Reference Number that was provided to them by a physician who has registered with the Department of Health and with whom the patient has a bona fide doctor-patient relationship. Only about 150 physicians have registered so far, which represents less than 1% of the 30,000 licensed physicians in the state.
Patients must have computer access and an email address in order to complete the registration, though there is a provision to allow their physician to assist the patients in registering. Patients (and their caregivers, if applicable) must have a government-issued photo ID, proof of New Jersey residency, a passport style photograph, and proof of government assistance (if applicable). A caregiver must also complete a Criminal Background Check. These documents must be converted to digital format and uploaded to the Department of Health. The patient must designate an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) that will be used. After the Department of Health reviews the documents, they will notify the patient by email to submit the required fee ($200 for two years or $20 if low income) and an ID card will be issued to the patient. The ID card will allow the patient or caregiver to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana a month from an ATC.
CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits medical marijuana. For more information, contact:
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 email@example.com
For southern Jersey, contact Chris Goldstein at (505) 577-5093.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Monthly Public Meeting Agenda
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3
Tuesday, August 14, 2012; 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM
7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. Approve July 2012 minutes. Discuss:
NJ Senator Nick Scutari introduced S1977 to decriminalize 50 grams of marijuana. Fall committee hearing upcoming? (NJ Assembly passed A1465--decrim for 15 grams--on 6/25/12.)
ATC update: Greenleaf ATC in Montclair to open this month? Compassionate Care Foundation in Egg Harbor to open? Update on lawsuit for a NJ patient who would qualify for cannabis?
In Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration (ASA v. DEA), a lawsuit challenging the federal government's classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value, the D.C. Circuit Court will hear oral arguments on October 16th. See below.
Gov. Christie calls War on Drugs a “Failure”:
Eric Hafner, on-going Middletown, NJ case. Colleen Begley’s case in Burlington Co.
Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion: Freed awaiting retrial. John Wilson released to Intensive Supervision Program after 4 months in prison; gagged from discussing medical marijuana.
Upcoming events: NJ State Nurses Assn. to honor Ken Wolski, RN with “Don Award” for his medical marijuana advocacy at Bally’s in Atlantic City on 10/24/12. Tickets available.
NORML NJ meeting, September 10th 7 pm, at the Ale House, New Brunswick, NJ.
Recent events: 8/2, Unity Tour, Holmdel, NJ., CMMNJ tabled with NORML NJ and made $160.
Treasury report: Checking: $2814; PayPal: $3353.
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. Snacks are served. (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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cmmnj.org
Monthly Public Meeting Minutes
July 10, 2012
7:00 PM: Call meeting to order. June 2012 minutes approved. Discussion:
Attendees included Ebony with “Moms for Marijuana” an international organization, and Scott, who recently filed a lawsuit in Santa Fe after a 3-year unsuccessful attempt to get a dispensary in NM. Jim Miller attended despite recovering from a serious injury—he plans to file an OPRA request re: arbitrary 10% cap on THC imposed by DHSS.
Peter will submit a formal petition to DHSS to include neuropathic pain as qualifying condition.
NJ Assembly passed A1465, a bill to Decriminalize 15 grams of Marijuana on 6/25/12. In the NJ Senate, Sen. Scutari introduced S1977, a bill to decriminalize 50 grams of marijuana. The bill will probably get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the fall. Gov. Christie vowed to veto the legislation when it gets to his desk.
ATC update: Montclair ATC reportedly growing marijuana. Egg Harbor Twp. ATC to start growing this summer? Camden Zoning Board sued over medical marijuana rejection.
New Hampshire governor John Lynch vetoed medical marijuana bill SB 409 on 6/21/12 after the bill passed both houses of the legislature. There are 17 medical marijuana states, plus D.C.
NJ Medical Marijuana current court cases:
Eric Hafner has a new judge and prosecutor in his Middletown, NJ case due to conflict of interest. Colleen Begley’s trial in Burlington Co. may start 12/12. Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion: Freed awaiting retrial. John Wilson released to Intensive Supervision Program after 4 months in prison. Gagged from discussing medical marijuana. ACLU contacted.
Events: NORML NJ meeting, 7 pm, July 9 at the Ale House, New Brunswick, NJ. July 4th SSDP Day of Action (not limited to 7/4). Aug. 2, Unity Tour, Holmdel with NORML NJ.
Treasury report: Checking: $2754; PayPal: $3353.
Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. 219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618 (609) 394-2137 email@example.com www.cmmnj.org
Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:
Alternative Treatment Centers:
Gov. Chris Christie still stonewalling on medical pot
Get moving on medical marijuana dispensaries
Montclair cannabis dispensary to open next month
Legal for Some, Pot Crops Up in N.J.
Group says Christie Administration is Stalling Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Ahearn: For medicinal pot, things are looking up
WHERE WE STAND: Answers needed on marijuana program
Assemblyman right to press for answers as to why patients are still deprived.
N.J. lawmaker wants answers on delay in medical marijuana program
New Jersey legislator wants medical marijuana and he wants it now
Will New Jersey Ever Get Their Medical Marijuana Program Implemented?
Med marijuana: What's the deal?
O'SCANLON: Medical marijuana: the facts
Christie administration has been responsive on issue
Medical Marijuana: Do States Know How to Regulate It?
Colorado’s decade-long debate over how to manage medical marijuana has produced a tightly controlled approach that more states are starting to emulate.
Medical Marijuana Infomercial by Washington ACLU
New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program: (Almost) Off and Running
Decriminalization:Chris Christie Calls War On Drugs 'A Failure'
Cory Booker Slams Drug War
Before You Believe Chris Christie’s Comments About The War On Drugs Do Your Homework
Marijuana Proponents Hold Their Breath on Medical Pot and Legalization
Marijuana reform may be forthcoming in New Jersey
Extra:Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke:
Legalize marijuana to end criminal control
Rampant Diversion of Medical Marijuana Alarming
Viewpoints: Science supporting medicinal pot is clear
Should cannabis be rescheduled?
Truth In Trials Act, Medical Marijuana Protection Bill, Proposed By Bipartisan Group Of Lawmaker
Military veterans say pot eases PTSD
Drug War Facts.org: Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana Patients Get Their Day in Federal Court with the Obama AdministrationD.C. Circuit to hear oral arguments this October in lawsuit challenging marijuana's federal classification
For Immediate Release: July 30th, 2012:
Washington, D.C. -- Late last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to hear oral arguments in Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, a lawsuit challenging the federal government's classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value. Ten years after the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) filed its petition, the courts will finally review the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of marijuana. The D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on October 16th at 9:30am.
"Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana's medical efficacy," continued Elford. "What's at stake in this case is nothing less than our country's scientific integrity and the imminent needs of millions of patients."
ASA filed its lawsuit in January, challenging the July 2011 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denial of the CRC petition, which was filed in 2002. The DEA is the final arbiter on petitions to reclassify controlled substances, but other agencies are also involved in the review process. Patient advocates claim that marijuana is treated unlike any other controlled substance in that rescheduling petitions are encumbered by politics and therapeutic research is subjected to a unique and overly rigorous approval process.
The announcement of oral arguments comes just weeks after a study was published in The Open Neurology Journal by Dr. Igor Grant one of the leading U.S. medical marijuana researchers, claiming that marijuana's Schedule I classification is "not tenable." Dr. Grant and his fellow researchers concluded it was "not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking." The study urged additional research, and stated that marijuana's federal classification and its political controversy are "obstacles to medical progress in this area." Marijuana's classification as a Schedule I substance (along with heroin) is based on the federal government's position that it has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States."
For more than a year, the Obama Justice Department has been escalating its attacks in medical marijuana states, including dozens of new federal indictments and prosecutions. Though U.S. Attorneys often claim that the accused have violated state law in some way, defendants are prevented from using any medical evidence or a state law defense in federal court. If the rescheduling lawsuit is successful and marijuana is reclassified, federal defendants will then gain the basis for a medical necessity defense.
The ASA appeal brief asserts that the federal government has acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its efforts to deny marijuana to millions of patients throughout the U.S. ASA argues in its brief that the DEA has no "license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case." ASA is urging the court to "require the DEA to analyze the scientific data evenhandedly," and order "a hearing and findings based on the scientific record." The panel of judges assigned to hear oral arguments includes Circuit Judges Henderson and Garland, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have adopted medical marijuana laws that not only recognize the medical efficacy of marijuana, but also provide safe and legal access to it. Since the CRC petition was filed in 2002, an even greater number of studies have been published that show the medical benefits of marijuana for illnesses such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's. Last year, the National Cancer Institute, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, added cannabis to its list of Complementary and Alternative Medicines, pointing out that it's been therapeutically used for millennia.
AFI: Several patient-plaintiffs are available for interviews
Mr. Britt is a 52-year-old resident of Long Beach, California, who developed polio as a child, which caused him to have scoliosis, a fused left ankle, shortened left leg, and bone degeneration in his left hip. Mr. Britt also suffers from epilepsy, depression and insomnia, and uses marijuana to treat chronic pain in his leg, back, and hip. Marijuana has reduced Mr. Britt's seizures and depression, and helps him sleep. Although Mr. Britt has taken prescription medication such as Marinol, Robaxin, Soma, and Xanax, none has proven as effective as marijuana.
Mr. Krawitz is a 49-year-old resident of Elliston, Virginia, who suffered an automobile accident in 1984 while serving in the United States Air Force. Mr. Krawitz has been rated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being totally and permanently disabled. Mr. Krawitz uses marijuana to treat chronic pain and trauma associated with his accident. He also use marijuana to treat central serous retinopathy. However, because of Mr. Krawitz's medical marijuana use, he has been denied pain treatment by the VA.
Ms. Sherer is a resident of Washington, D.C. and the founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). In April of 2000, Ms. Sherer suffered a physical attack that has caused her to suffer from a condition that produced inflammation, muscle spasms, pain throughout her body, and decreased mobility in her neck. Because of multiple pain medications she was prescribed, Ms. Sherer suffered kidney damage. After her doctor recommended medical marijuana, Ms. Sherer successfully reduced her inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. This prompted Ms. Sherer to found ASA in April of 2002 to share what she learned about the therapeutic value of marijuana and to change public policy.
D.C. Circuit announcement of oral arguments:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/ASA_v_DEA_Oral_Arguments.pdf
ASA appeal brief: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Appeal.pdf
DEA denial of CRC petition:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Petition_DEA_Answer.pdf
CRC rescheduling petition: http://www.drugscience.org/PDF/Petition_Final_2002.pdf
N.J. medical marijuana law excludes too many patientsAug 2, 2012 |
It was hard reading Assemblyman Declan J. O’Scanlon Jr.’s July 20 commentary, , “Medical marijuana: the facts,” with a subtitle stating that the “Christie administration has been responsive on (the) issue.”
First, the Christie administration has never responded to any potential medical marijuana patients or organizations that advocate for medical marijuana in regard to their specific concerns about the program’s regulations, many of which were added on after the bill was signed into law over 2½ years ago.
The entire regulatory process was done behind closed doors. Nobody knows who inserted the additional cumbersome regulations, and the administration is not being as open as O’Scanlon would lead us to believe when such questions are asked.
O’Scanlon states: “We all want our patients suffering from illnesses and chronic pain to get relief,” yet he is aware that most illnesses, and chronic pain specifically, are not eligible indications for inclusion into our program.
O’Scanlon’s reasoning, as well as Christie’s, is that we don’t want to become another California or Colorado, where chronic pain patients can readily acquire their medicine.
O’Scanlon defines a good medical marijuana program by how strict it is, no matter how many patients it leaves out.
I, on the other hand, would define a good program by how many patients it is able to help. In that respect, I’m sure that patients in California and Colorado hope that their state never becomes another New Jersey. After all, their lives depend on it.