Friday, March 29, 2013

MS Society Refuses Medical Marijuana Information

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ) had been invited to have a table at the Greater Delaware Valley MS Society's March 23rd "Beef and Beer" fundraiser.

I have been at odds with the National MS Society over their deliberate ignorance concerning the benefits of medical marijuana relative to MS symptoms since 1995. In 1997 Cheryl headed up the Cures Not Wars yearly May March down 5th Ave in Manhattan with a sign that said "MS Society's Dr. Reingold Lies About Medical Marijuana."

(pictured: Cheryl Miller leading 1997 Cures Not Wars March in New York City)

After the march, legal federal medical marijuana patient Elvy Musika accompanied us as we delivered the sign to the National MS Society's headquarters at 733 3rd Ave. Dr. Reingold chose not to come down to the lobby to accept it in person. He was the head of research and director of grants management for the MS Society at that time and he was doing everything that he could to see that marijuana was NOT clinically studied relative to MS, while at the same time marginalizing multiple sclerosis studies that had been done with THC. As more and more positive information about cannabis began emerging from the British and Canadian MS Societies, our National MS Society's Clinical Advisory Board had to start making certain stipulations such as, "Because inhaled smoked cannabis has more favorable pharmacokinetics than administration via oral or other routes, research should focus on the development of an inhaled mode of administration that gives results as close to smoked cannabis as possible." And, "There are sufficient data available to suggest that cannabiniods may have neuroprotective effects and that studies in this area should be aggressively pursued."

Although I have handed out medical marijuana information at MS Society walks and bike rides for 18 years, both with and without Cheryl, this would be my first time doing so by invitation. It seemed that we had indeed come a long way.

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 Cathi and I arrived at Heroes Hall FOP Lodge #5 on Caroline Road in N.E. Philadelphia, 40 minutes ahead of the 7:30 PM scheduled start of the fundraiser. We knew that there would be 250 attendees plunking down $40 apiece at the door before the actual fundraiser began. Although the night might prove to be financially beneficial for CMMNJ, the real reason that I was there was to interact with supporters who showed such commitment towards improving the lives of MS patients and their families. Statistically speaking, the vast majority would be glad to find out what they could do to help urge the MS Society to take a more active role in cannabis research relative to MS symptoms, and they would no doubt agree that two decades worth of saying that "we need more studies" without attempting to do those studies is no longer acceptable.

When fellow CMMNJ board member Nick Mellis arrived with our table material we all went in to set up. That is when "if it SEEMS too good to be true, it IS too good to be true" set in. As Nick was bringing the second tub of table material in we were told that "there is a problem with your table". It seems that that someone with ties to Clear Channel Outdoor ( objected to medical marijuana information being available to MS patients and their families at the fundraiser, even if it originated from the MS Society itself, and they threatened to pull sponsorship from the event if we were allowed to set up.

This happened with plenty of time to inform us of the change, yet nobody bothered to notify anyone at CMMNJ. They left two extremely chagrined MS Society volunteers who supported us being there, to tell us to go home when we arrived. Against my initial instinct to react, I opted for leaving on the high road handed to us, and evaluating potential repercussions for that decision that would not be reactionary and immediate, but rather well thought out and planned with an end goal in mind all of the way.

(pictured: Jim Miller leaving the premises, using a hand rail and a walker to get up the steps)

When we are ready in a few days and our reply is fully fleshed out, I will be more than happy to deliver OUR counter offer to the Greater Delaware Valley MS Society's office unannounced and in person. Stay tuned for next weeks blog and a first look at my idea of a return volley. You are REALLY going to like this.

Jim Miller
President and Co-Founder

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Address Medical Marijuana Program's short-comings

                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, Jay Lassiter, Media Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--NJ at (856) 236-7199

Activists to lawmakers: Address Medical Marijuana Program's short-comings

WHO: Assemblymen Michael Patrick Carroll and Reed Gusciora; Joseph Jimenez, MD; Ken Wolski, RN; Jay Lassiter, HIV+ Patient Advocate; and Vanessa Waltz, Cancer Survivor
WHAT:  Address Medical Marijuana Program's short-comings  
WHEN: Thursday March 21, 12:00pm
WHERE: Room 15, State House Annex. Trenton, NJ
WHY:  Sick patients suffer needlessly as New Jersey's Program continues to languish

A coalition of lawmakers, physicians and patient advocates are demanding prompt improvements to New Jersey's 3-year-old Medical Marijuana law.  They will discuss the importance of this program to the thousands of sick and dying residents in NJ and their caretakers.

"NJ's medical marijuana program is not where it should be three years into its implementation," said Patient/Activist Jay Lassiter who uses medical cannabis to treat symptoms associated with HIV treatment.  "It's over-regulated, over-taxed and inaccessible, especially for terminally ill patients who live in the Southern 2/3 of the state.  It's hard to imagine the State Government running any program so incompetently. New Jersey's Medical Marijuana represents Big Government at its worst."

"The opening of the Greenleaf Compassion Center is a much welcomed sign in this long-sought progress for the patients who have been waiting for this program to become reality,” said the law’s prime sponsor Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer.)  “However, this program will only be successful if all patients throughout our state have reasonable access to this treatment, so it’s crucial to see more progress on the additional five locations that should be opened by law.”

"My philosophy on New Jersey's medical marijuana law is that we should be empowering doctors to treat their patients as they see fit, and not have lawyers or bureaucrats standing in the way.  That why I'm frustrated at the State's implementation of this law, which smacks of big-government overreach,” observed Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris.)  “I concluded long ago that burdensome regulations are bad for business and a threat to our liberties. New Jersey's clumsy, hyper-bureaucratic roll-out of its medical marijuana law only affirms that belief.”

Speakers will be on hand for questions following their brief remarks.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ  08618  (609) 394.2137

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for March 12, 2013

Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #2
Tuesday, March 12, 2013; 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

7:00 PM:  Call meeting to order.   Approve January 2013 minutes.  Discuss:

CMMNJ’s 10th anniversary party/pot luck dinner will be held at Peter Rosenfeld’s house on March 9, 2013 at 6PM.  Free, but bring food to share. RSVP--call or email Ken for directions (see below).  Facebook info at:

NJ’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP): Only Greenleaf ATC in Montclair, NJ is selling marijuana to registered patients, by appointment only--at least two months wait for an appt.

The lawsuit against DOH for failure to meaningfully implement the MMP is progressing and it moves to the Appellate Court per the Superior Court hearing of 1/24/13.  Various Motions are being filed and the court is expected to set a date for oral arguments around the end of May.

Upcoming Events: NORML Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, 3/16/13, U. of PA, Phila.
MS Beef ‘n Beer, 3/23/13; 11630 Caroline Road, Phila. 19154; 7:30 pm – 11:30 PM.
"Medical Marijuana Update: New Jersey's program, the law and the science," NJ Chapter of the Nat’l. Case Management Society, Woodbridge Hilton, 4/17/13, 6 pm (2 CEU’s will be awarded).

Recent events: CMMNJ Board conference call held on 2/12/13.
Americans for Safe Access “National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference” 2/22 – 25/13; D.C. The World Medical Cannabis Expo scheduled for 4/5–7/13 in Piscataway was postponed!
A765:  Authorized use of medical marijuana is equal to use of any other prescribed medication.

Treasury report: Current finances: Checking account: $3625; PayPal account: $3665.

CMMNJ meetings are the second Tues. of each month, 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, 08648. (Meeting at the library does not imply endorsement of our issue.)

More info:  Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc., 219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618   (609) 394-2137
Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ:

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

Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:

Bill Would Clear Way for Medical Marijuana Users to Receive Transplants

Charlotte's Web and Zaki's Journey (Medical Marijuana for Dravet Syndrome)

Pot patch considered medical breakthrough

The New England Journal of Medicine: Medicinal Use of Marijuana

N.J. medical pot program beset by clashes with state, patient backlogs, legal challenges

Jim Gearhart Discusses the Current State of Medical Marijuana in NJ with Max Davidson

Gov. Christie Said He’s Not Trying To Sabotage Medical Marijuana Program

Off the Front Page: Medical marijuana is discussed with Ken Wolski of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, New Jersey

Pot and prejudice: Editorial

New Jersey's lone marijuana dispensary overwhelmed with requests


Register Today for the First NORML Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference

Do You Think Medical Marijuana Should Be Legalized for Dogs?

John Schwarz, Father Of String Theory, To Headline Medical Marijuana Conference In D.C.

National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2013

The DEA's marijuana mistake,0,5887628.story