Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Irish Legislature (Oireachtas) Urged to Reform Drug Policy

Response to Public Comment Request by The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defense and Equality

July 27, 2015

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Committee:

My name is Robert Kane and I am writing this letter with the hope of effecting a change in the national drug policy of Ireland. As a citizen of both the United States of America and Ireland, it is an honor to address such an important issue.

My college years in the 1970s and 1980s were, like those of many young people, a time of experimentation with drugs and alcohol. It was only thanks to the discretion and compassion of a law enforcement officer, that I did not incur an arrest record for a small amount of cannabis.

As a parent, I feel that my ability to openly discuss drug-related issues with our children helps to keep our family close knit and well adjusted. It is unrealistic to expect that my kids abstain completely
from the use of drugs and/or alcohol as they grow older. I believe (as does my wife) that a harm reduction approach is what works best in our home. The last several decades have shown that the global “War on Drugs” cannot be won, and that the casualties include countless broken families left to struggle when a family member goes to jail for a drug related offence. Under current U.S. laws, even a small amount of cannabis can, in some states, result in lengthy prison terms and costs of $10,000.00 or more in legal fees. This is unacceptable.

Ireland has the opportunity to serve as a leader in drug policy reform. It is the moral imperative of any legislative body to preserve the integrity of the family unit, as this is the foundation of a healthy modern society.

The world is growing weary of the mass incarceration of those convicted of victimless crimes and non violent drug offences. Our prison population (in the U.S.) has quadrupled since the 1980’s; largely due to excessive mandatory minimum sentences.

I propose that Ireland adopt a policy similar to the Portuguese Decriminalization Model. Portugal should not be the only place where an E.U. citizen can go to live and not have to worry that they might be incarcerated for possession of a personal amount of any drug. I urge legislators in Ireland to adopt steering and oversight committees which could expand on the Portugal Model in several positive ways.

Bearing in mind the fact that drug use will likely not rise upon decriminalization, the Government of Ireland can and should take the progressive step of allowing addicts to legally procure prescriptions from doctors; and safe access centers be created with social workers, mental health and medical staff on hand for the usage of controlled substances. The goal would be to assist the addict through counseling, education, rehabilitation and ultimately re-introduction into society as part of a productive workforce. This concept could potentially reduce petty thefts and other crimes addicts commit to fund their habits; thereby enabling law enforcement to focus efforts on white collar and violent crime. If the government controlled the supply of hard drugs, these substances could then be closely regulated and dispensed via medical professionals. This approach would insure that quality and purity of various substances are held to pharmaceutical industry standards and are free of unwanted adulterants; while effectively displacing the criminal syndicates which now supply the demand. Cannabis should be legalized for personal use with regulations and taxation implemented. The revenue generated could be used for education similar to the U.S. State of Colorado.
While many countries are undergoing a paradigm shift on this topic, the timing seems right for Ireland to transform its drug policy and become the standard to which other nations will aspire to replicate. The potential for medical and psychological clinical research is virtually unlimited once restrictions are eased. Studies presently underway in Israel, the Beckley Foundation in the U.K. and elsewhere show exciting promise with such diseases as Alzheimer’s, many cancers, digestive disorders and depression among others. Cannabis shows promise of alleviating opioid dependence and certain cancers. Easing restrictions on medical and clinical research of previously banned substances could pave the way for universities and corporations to develop new treatments and improve the public’s overall quality of life. This would involve U.N. restrictions to be relaxed, which may be plausible in the near future as evidence mounts in favor of decriminalization.

In summation, it is time for a change in our collective attitudes from that of a punitive culture of judgment, where those with illness and addictions are treated as criminals, to one of compassion and acceptance. When the mystique and allure is stripped from the drug, people may find that moderation is and always will be the key to a healthy and balanced life.


Robert G. Kane
Ocean View, New Jersey

CMMNJ Agenda for Aug. 11, 2015 Public Meeting

Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Twp. Library, Rm. #3
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve July 2015 minutes. Discuss:

Support for Marijuana Legalization Reaches New High in NJ in Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll.

Asbury Park Resolution in support of legalizing marijuana passed unanimously by city council and mayor on 7/8/15.  Now on to 564 other NJ municipalities.

A4587—Requires schools to permit medical marijuana use by qualifying patients.  Introduced on 6/22/15, passed the Assembly on 6/25; passed the Senate on 6/29; awaits action by Gov. Christie.
Await response to Barbour lawsuit against LARC School & Maple Shade BOE (hearing 6/25).

NJ State Senate support sought for bills that were OK’d by the Assembly: A-3726/S2898 – OK’s medical marijuana for PTSD; A-4286/S2899 - OKs transfer of marijuana between ATCs; CR224/SCR166 - Medical marijuana regulations are inconsistent with legislative intent.

“CMMNJ TV”—taping canceled 7/23: Next taping: August 18, 2015, noon to 4 pm.

Weekly Statehouse Podcasts: see Facebook “Friends of CMMNJ” and SativaCross.com for details.

CMMNJ Patient Handbook 2015—no reply from DOH to 6/9 letter re: handbooks in ATCs.

Upcoming Events:
Asbury Park Event Sept. 11, 12 & 13 by Roland Ramos & Sara Sensimilla.
Septemberfest application in for 9/6 (rain date 9/13) await approval by Hamilton Twp.
Boston Freedom Rally 9/26 (noon to 8) & 9/27/ (noon to 6) CMMNJ application sent.
Trial of Jon Peditto, Toms River; jury selection 10/19/15; jury nullification trial 10/20/15.

Recent events:
Weed & Greet Summer BBQ at NJWeedman’s “Joint” 8/1/15.
Hemp Heals, Philly, 7/31/15.

Treasury report: Checking: $2777; PayPal: $3772.

CMMNJ's meetings are the second Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Twp., 08648. All are welcome.  (Meeting at the library does not imply Mercer County’s endorsement of our issue.)

More info:  Ken Wolski, RN, (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com
Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ:

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

Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
July 14, 2015

Asbury Park Resolution in support of legalizing marijuana was passed unanimously by city council and mayor on 7/8/15.  Now on to 564 other NJ municipalities!  See blog, below.

A4587—Requires schools to permit the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients.  Introduced on 6/22/15, passed the Assembly on 6/25; passed the Senate on 6/29; awaits action by Gov. Christie.  (If CC signs, Ed gives CMMNJ $10; Nick owes Miller $5.)

F/U with head of Senate Health Committee re: bills that were OK’d by the Assembly: A-3726/S2898 - Authorizes medical marijuana for qualifying patients with PTSD; A-4286/S2899 - OKs transfer of excess medical marijuana between ATCs; ACR224/SCR166 - Certain medical marijuana regulations are inconsistent with legislative intent.

Print source for NORML’s “Emerging Clinical Applications’ booklet or put it on flash drives?

NJWeedman’s Joint Resolution by NJ Legislature in support of his Tenton restaurant & temple.

“CMMNJ TV”—taping 7/23 canceled; next taping 8/18, noon to 4 pm. Guests?

Weekly Statehouse Podcasts: see Facebook “Friends of CMMNJ” for photos and details.

CMMNJ Patient Handbook 2015--OK to put handbooks in ATCs? Letter to DOH to have Handbooks in ATC’s went out 6/9/15—over 60 days.

Smoke Down Prohibition 2.0: The Return, 7/10, Love Park, Philly, very successful; no arrests.
Slightly Stoopid, Stone Pony, Asbury Park, 7/11, with Ken, Eric & Amanda--$500 to CMMNJ.

Upcoming Events: Trial of Jon Peditto, Toms River; 8/3/15; jury nullification attempt.
Fundraiser for CMMNJ? CMMNJ needs to participate in more community events to raise funds and to collect more email addresses.

PA Medical Marijuana bill discussed along with opposition by PA Medical Society.

Jessie Sanders case in South Jersey discussed along with letter of support.

Treasury report: Checking: $2277; PayPal: $3258.

More info:  Ken Wolski, RN, (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com

Recent Media Coverage and Blogs:

Support for Marijuana Legalization Reaches New High in NJ in Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll

Resolution in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in New Jersey

NJ Weedman: Reefer Robberies — I salute the real 420 dealers

Oh Hell Yes Smokedown Prohibition 2.0

VIDEO: Weedney Houston Performs Throughout Gayborhood

10 Ways to Be a Responsible Cannabis User

1 Statistic that demonstrates why the marijuana movement is so powerful

Pro-pot rally lights up in LOVE Park in Philly at 4:20 p.m. (VIDEO)

Philly420: Taxing Pa. medical marijuana the wrong approach

How ‘Medical’ Is Marijuana?

What I Learned at the Weed Dispensary

New York Senator Schumer Co-Sponsors Federal Medical Marijuana Legislation

New York State Awards 5 Medical Marijuana Licenses

Support for legalized pot in NJ reaches new highs

'Don't Let My Daughter Die, Governor!' Drug Warrior Chris Christie Promises to Escalate the War on Weed

The Scientist

Chris Christie To Overturn Marijuana Legalization