The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization, incorporated in the State of New Jersey. The mission of CMMNJ is to educate the public about medical marijuana. The goal of CMMNJ is to have safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualified New Jersey patients. In 2014, CMMNJ’s Board of Directors endorsed legalization of marijuana. The Board recognized legalization as the most efficient and effective way to get the therapeutic effects of marijuana to the vast number of patients who can benefit from this plant. Legalization of marijuana is also an important step in undoing the harms to our society that are caused by our current policy of drug prohibition.
In 2016, CMMNJ held nine free, public meetings at the Lawrence Township Library in Mercer County. At the meetings, Board members and volunteers planned upcoming events and educational programs. CMMNJ sent the agenda and minutes of these meetings via e-mail to about 1000 supporters each month and posted the agendas on Facebook, Twitter and on the CMMNJ blog. There were no April, July or November meetings in 2016 due to a schedule conflict at the library.
CMMNJ’s public meetings for 2017 will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. (Mercer County) Library, Room #1, located at 2751 Brunswick Pike in Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648. The only month where no meeting is scheduled is July 2017. All are welcome at these meetings and there is never a charge to attend.
New Jersey Highlights of 2016:
Gov. Chris Christie signed A457 into law on 9-14-16, fulfilling a commitment by CMMNJ to make Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the first added condition to New Jersey's Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP). Thank you to the many volunteers who worked so hard to get this done! Thanks also to the New Jersey legislators and the governor for making this happen. The original bill to add PTSD, A3726/S2898, was introduced into the NJ Legislature in September 2014. In the new two-year legislative session beginning in January 2016, the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee passed A457 (the same bill with a new bill number) out of committee in June at the Statehouse Annex in Trenton. The bill passed in the entire Assembly on 6-16-16, by a vote of 56 to 13. On the same day the Senate Health Committee passed A457/S2345 by a vote of 6 to 3. Then on 8-1-16, the entire NJ Senate passed A457 by a vote of 28 to 9, and the bill went to the governor’s desk for his action. Over 18,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging the governor to sign this bill into law. After the governor signed the bill on 9-14-16, CMMNJ publicly thanked Gov. Christie the next day when the governor passed by a Statehouse Podcast that was paying tribute to Roger Barbour.
Marijuana Legalization in New Jersey Update:
A NJ legislative delegation toured the legal marijuana industry in Colorado this year. Sen. Scutari called the marijuana industry "the next economic engine for the state." Sen. Sweeney said recreational marijuana could be legal in N J by 2018. NJ could reap $300 million/year in sales tax by legalizing marijuana for recreational use, according to NJ United for Marijuana Reform and NJ Policy Perspective. Gov. Christie restated his opposition to marijuana reform, because he considers marijuana a “Gateway Drug.”
New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform (NJUMR) launched efforts to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults in New Jersey on 2-18-15. In addition to CMMNJ, some of the groups that endorsed the goals of NJUMR include the New Jersey chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the NJ Municipal Prosecutor’s Association.
CMMNJ-sponsored Podcasts (“Telling It Like It Is”) were held at the Trenton Statehouse every Thursday from 11am to 2 pm. The Podcasts resumed from last year on April 7, 2016 and ran through Thanksgiving. The Governor passed by about 1/3 of the Podcasts. Coverage of the Podcasts included News 12 NJ among other media.
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) accepted Petitions to add qualifying conditions to the state’s MMP. Petitions had to be sent by certified mail, and postmarked between 8-1-16 and 8-31-16. CMMNJ submitted Petitions for Osteoarthritis, Opiate Use Disorder, Autism, Anxiety, Migraine Headaches, & Neuropathic Pain. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) submitted Petitions for Chronic Pain and PTSD. A total of 45 Petitions were accepted by the NJ DOH for consideration by a panel of health care professionals. On 5-25-16 the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel held its first meeting at the War Memorial in Trenton. Public hearings on these Petitions are expected to be held in early 2017.
Steve Adubato interviewed Jim Miller on NJ Capitol Report at the NJTV Studios in Newark on 6-28-16.
Jon Peditto was sentenced on 1-29-16 in Toms River to 8 years in prison for growing 17 marijuana plants. Supporters demonstrated at the Ocean Co. Courthouse during the trial last year. Jon rejected plea bargains in an attempt to appeal to the jury that he should not be found guilty of growing the marijuana plants, despite admitting that he grew them. Jon represented himself at court during the week of 10-19-15. Judge Blaney made it difficult, if not impossible, for Jon to adequately represent himself by interrupting him repeatedly and disallowing many of his arguments. The jury found Jon guilty of the most serious charge. Jon was immediately taken into custody and he faced a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in state prison. He is currently incarcerated in the state prison system.
Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion Update:
The "Joint" and the "Liberty Bell Temple" were visited by law enforcement officers (LEOs) on 3-5-16 which was followed by a request for an injunction to stop police harassment of these facilities. However, the facilities were instead raided by LEOs on 4-27-16 with multiple arrests and property confiscated. Forchion was subsequently arrested again and charged with harassing a Trenton police officer. The judge will reportedly allow Forchion to argue that his ‘cannabis temple’ deserves religious freedom.
New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division heard oral arguments for marijuana rescheduling on 11/29/16 in Trenton. Arguing pro bono to reschedule were Joseph L. Linares, Esq. and Marc Haefner, Esq. from the Newark Walsh law firm.
New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program:
The fourth anniversary of legal sales of marijuana in New Jersey was on 12-6-16. The 7th anniversary of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act becoming law will be on 1-18-17.
The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) filed its 2015 Annual Report and 2015 Biennial Report on 3-11-16. The DOH notes in this report that the patient registry opened on 8-9-12, and that, “Since the registry opened, 6,960 qualifying patients and 631 caregivers have been registered with the program.” The DOH does not note how many patients in NJ are actively using the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP). The DOH reports that 362 physicians are active in the program. Five Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) are open and dispensing medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Marijuana infused topical solutions are now available from Compassionate Sciences (CS) Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) as a container of two syringes of oil with 150 mg of THC in each. Suggested dose is 10 mg; price is $75 per container (which counts as 1/8 of an ounce of the 2 ounce/month dried flower allotment). Peter Rosenfeld wrote a review of their new topicals. Lozenges also are available at CS ATC. CS ATC is also offering workshops for patients at their facility in Bellmawr, NJ, including an educational program on PTSD.
CMMNJ toured two ATCs this year: Breakwater and Compassionate Sciences. CMMNJ Board members were impressed with both facilities. They both had staffs that were professional and knowledgeable, product that was abundant and high-quality, and facilities that were clean and secure. In fact, the production, processing and distribution of medical marijuana in these two facilities appeared to be on a very high level. Breakwater reports that it is offering a 5% discount to any patient with a CMMNJ t-shirt!
Facebook deleted pages for three NJ ATCs this year for "violating community standards." The community was outraged and Facebook later restored the pages.
National and Regional Highlights for 2016:
On Election Day, 11-8-16, four states approved legal marijuana for adults (California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada); and four states approved medical marijuana laws or expansions of medical marijuana programs (Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota). Also on Election Day, a new president was elected. Marijuana reform advocates are uncertain of what to expect from President-elect Donald Trump.
Pennsylvania became the 24th medical marijuana state as Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, on 4-17-16. PTSD & chronic pain were approved as two of the qualifying medical conditions, but no dried flowers are allowed in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is allowing parents to obtain medical marijuana for qualifying minors from out-of-state until their program is functioning.
New York opened their medicinal marijuana program on 1-7-16 with 71 patients and an MD registry of 174 doctors; 8 of 20 dispensaries are open; no dried flowers are allowed to be sold in the state.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) again insisted that marijuana belongs in its absurd Schedule I classification, continuing 46 years of federal propaganda that exaggerates the dangers and denies the benefits of marijuana. DEA also proposed to classify kratom as a Schedule I narcotic on 9-30-16. Federal police are allowed to decide what constitutes medicine in the U.S.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released a challenge to the DEA: REQUEST FOR CORRECTION OF INFORMATION DISSEMINATED BY DEA REGARDING MARIJUANA (CANNABIS)
CMMNJ attended the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS 2016), on 4/19-21, at the U.N. in New York City (NYC). CMMNJ also was a signatory on several letters urging drug policy reform including the Beckley Foundation's Public Letter, thanks to Bob Kane.
At the NORML Lobby Day in Washington, DC, Ken Wolski won NORML's "Peter McWilliams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Marijuana" on 5-23-16.
The federal bill to resolve the conflict between state and federal medical marijuana laws, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, H.R. 1538: CARERS Act of 2015, now has 41 co-sponsors (27 Democrats and 14 Republicans).
Supporters of CMMNJ were among those who signed the Petition to the Delaware General Assembly to End Cannabis Prohibition in DE!
CMMNJ members participated in Global Marijuana Marches on 5-7-16 in NYC & Rehoboth, DE, and on 5-8-16 in Philadelphia.
East Coast Cannabis Coalition passed the #UnityCypher #UnityTorch Joint from NYC to Trenton to Philly 4/19-20/2016 on its way from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida.
Marijuana-related Bills in New Jersey’s 2016 Legislature:
1/12/16 was the start of a new, 2-year legislative session in NJ. New bill numbers:
S2898 To add PTSD as a qualifying condition for marijuana therapy--now A457 (passed into law);
S3162 To ensure workplace protections for medical marijuana patients--now A2482;
S1896 To legalize marijuana and provide for sales and home cultivation--now A2068;
A1129 "Right to Farm" marijuana for medical use--now A2116;
S1169 Medical Marijuana is equivalent to the use of any other medication--now A861;
A1730 Dedicates taxes from medical marijuana to medical research--now A416;
A218 Decriminalizes 15 grams or less of marijuana, imposes civil penalties--now A2050;
A4026 To ease caregiver restrictions in schools and establishes secondary caregivers;
A4193 To treat marijuana like tobacco.
Asm. Carroll (R-Morris) introduced A4193 to legalize marijuana, treating it like tobacco, which is sold only to those over 19 years of age and expunging certain past marijuana offenses. Asm. Gusciora's bill A2068 would legalize the possession of an ounce or less and the growing of no more than three mature, flowering cannabis plants.
Jen Lehman, Asm. Greenwald’s aide, is coordinating testimony on A4026, which creates “secondary” caregivers for the MMP; eliminates psychiatrist requirement for minors; and OKs treatment with marijuana as a first resort, and for organ transplants. It was introduced to Assembly Health Committee.
A3852, Asw. Lampitt’s bill, also in Health Committee, says parents may be caregivers for more than one minor, and parents may designate another caregiver, besides themselves, for a minor.
Gov. Christie has vowed to veto any of the marijuana reform bills that get through the legislature to his desk.
Roger Barbour filed a lawsuit when the LARC School and the Maple Shade Board of Education refused to allow his wife, Lora, to administer an oral dose of marijuana to their daughter, Genny, at the school. Marijuana was the only treatment that helped to control Genny’s seizures. The judge sided with the school. This motivated the state legislature to pass and Gov. Christie to sign a bill in 2015 that requires schools and facilities for the developmentally disabled in NJ to adopt policies permitting the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients. Roger Barbour was continuing his lawsuit in an attempt to have nurses at those facilities administer the oral doses of marijuana. Tragically, Roger Barbour suddenly died this year. The entire reform community was saddened by his untimely death. CMMNJ sends its condolences to his family.
CMMNJ sponsored and participated in a series of Statehouse demonstrations and Podcasts every Thursday, rain or shine, from April through November, going back to 2014. There were 21 weekly Thursday Statehouse medical cannabis informational demonstrations in 2014. There were 33 weekly Thursday Statehouse medical cannabis podcasts in 2015. Permits were obtained from the State Police each week for the demonstrations. The podcasts and demonstrations called attention to the deficiencies of the MMP and the need for legalization of marijuana. Jim Miller said:
"The podcast gets us inside the Statehouse. This day (4-16-16) we ran into the republican Senate Minority leader Tom Kean, where we were able to have a constructive hallway conversation. Adding PTSD to the list of indications for getting a registration card improved that day after Sen. Kean talked to veteran Phillipe Dume."
Ignorance Is No Excuse Tour: Michelle Burn's Journey to get her MMJ back from the BPD
SativaCross.com Statehouse Podcast 10-27-16
SativaCross.com Statehouse Podcast 10-20-16
I give my report of the press conference around the 2:42 mark
Statehouse Potcast 10/6/16
SativaCross.com Podcast from the Governor's office
SATIVA CROSS™ Live Stream
Streamed live on Jul 21, 2016
SativaCross Productions Live Stream 5/12/16
SativaCross Productions Live Stream
SativaCross Productions Live Stream 5/28/16
SativaCross Ignorance Is No Excuse Show 2/1
2016 CMMNJ Publications:
CMMNJ Monthly Agendas and Minutes also contain links to published reports by and about CMMNJ Board members and friends. For the 2016 CMMNJ Agendas and Minutes, see:
Agenda & Oct. Minutes:
NJ DOH Rules to Add Conditions that Qualify for Marijuana Therapy: http://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2016_04_01_archive.html
PTSD Testimony: http://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2016_01_01_archive.html
Year End Report 2015:
“CMMNJ TV” began broadcasting from Princeton Community TV on 11/11/14 and continued throughout 2015 and 2016. Episodes run twice a week for two weeks—on Tues., at 10 pm & Fri., at 10:30 am on Comcast Ch. 30 & Verizon FIOS Ch. 45. Episodes of “CMMNJ TV” are taped one day each month at the Princeton Community TV Studio. “CMMNJ TV” episodes also include footage shot outside the studio and are edited by Ed “Lefty” Grimes of “Sativa Cross.”
2016 "CMMNJ TV" Episodes–
CMMNJ TV Angela Patterson/INE Jamesburg
CMMNJ TV: Dr. David Nathan
CMMNJ TV: Veterans Cornered
CMMNJ TV: Leo Bridgewater
CMMNJ TV: William Haney
CMMNJ TV: Philippe Dume
CMMNJ TV: Tony Liberte / INE Tour Mahwah
CMMNJ TV: CMMNJ Board Member Vanessa Maria is interviewed
CMMNJ TV: Dana Beal
Dialogue With Doris: Medical Marijuana, The Issues and Hassles
CMMNJ members attended the following events in 2016:
⦁ NJ Libertarian Party Convention, Tavern on the Lake, Hightstown, NJ, 3-12-16
⦁ NJ Senate & Assembly Budget Hearings, Glassboro & Collingswood, NJ, 3/15-16/2016.
⦁ ASA's Medical Marijuana Unity Conference, Washington, D.C., 3/18-22/2016.
⦁ Patients Out of Time conference, Baltimore, MD, 4/14-16/2016.
⦁ Trenton 4-20 March from City Hall to a Rally at the Statehouse and After Party at The Joint.
⦁ CMMNJ met with Asm. Greenwald's aide in the Statehouse re: marijuana edible availability.
⦁ CMMNJ tabled at Lawrence Community Day, 10-2-16.
⦁ Boston Freedom Rally, 9/17-18/2016.
⦁ NJ Celebrates Recovery, 9-18-16 at the Middletown Arts Center (table and speaker).
⦁ What Nurses Need to Know about Medical Cannabis, Schnecksville, PA, 9-28-16.
⦁ Connie’s Ric Rac, Philadelphia, 7-25-16.
⦁ East Coast Cannabis Coalition Rally at Philadelphia City Hall, 7-26-16.
⦁ Guest Lecture at Reed Gusciora’s PoliSci Class: The Politics and Public Policy of Marijuana, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), 10-26-16.
⦁ Piscataway Community TV (PCTV) host Doris Robinson interviewed Ken Wolski, RN and Debi Madaio, RN on 10-19-16.
⦁ “Forum on Addiction and Healing” with U.S. Surgeon General and U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs at St. Barnabas Medical Center, 8-8-16.
⦁ CMMNJ tabled at Hemp Heals, 7-22-16, Philadelphia—thanks to our volunteers!
⦁ CMMNJ Meeting to develop education for NJ MDs, 6-23-16.
⦁ Slightly Stoopid concert, Stone Pony 8-19-16 (Thanks to Amanda, & Eric).
⦁ University of Pennsylvania marijuana panel, Philadelphia, 12-7-16.
Thanks to CMMNJ Volunteers:
On behalf of the Board of Directors of CMMNJ, I would like to thank all of our supporters for their tireless efforts and contributions throughout the year. As we are an all-volunteer organization, we are nothing without you! Special thanks go to:
⦁ Ed “Lefty” Grimes has been editing “CMMNJ TV” episodes, while producing high quality videos of medical marijuana patients and families. Lefty continues his “Ignorance is No Excuse” tours which distributes the MMP Attorney General guidelines to local police departments. Lefty has been posting these videos on YouTube and social media sites. Lefty conducts Weekly Statehouse Podcasts. At these podcasts, “Magic Butter Machines” with a retail value $175 - $200, are raffled off monthly.
⦁ Jim Price, the CMMNJ Communications Director. Jim worked to develop handouts and information to help physicians understand medical marijuana.
⦁ CMMNJ also is grateful for the many discussions that are ably moderated by volunteer administrators on Facebook’s Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/
CMMNJ 2016 Board Update:
Formal meetings of the CMMNJ Board of Directors were held on 2-23-16, 4-6-16 and 11-30-16.
JoAnne Zito and Philippe Dume were welcomed onto the Board of CMMNJ at Board meetings on 2-23-16 and 11-30-16, respectively. Diane Fornbacher resigned from the CMMNJ Board. The CMMNJ Board was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden, tragic death of Jeremy, the husband of our new Board member, Jo Anne Zito. We send our condolences to Jo Anne and her family.
At the close of 2016, the CMMNJ Board consists of the following 11 people: Kenneth R. Wolski, RN, Executive Director; James Miller, Senior Director; Edward R. Hannaman, Esq., Secretary; Nick Mellis, Peter Rosenfeld, Vanessa Waltz, Larry Vargo, Amanda Hoffman, Vanessa Maria, Jo Anne Zito and Philippe Dume. (CMMNJ’s Honorary Board Member is Allan Marain, Esq., while Jim Price continues in his role as Communications Director.)
A detailed treasury report was forwarded to CMMNJ Board members. In summary, in 2016, CMMNJ had expenditures of $2,357.59 and income of $1,996.25.
CMMNJ finished the year with a checking account balance of $3,092.09 and a PayPal account balance of $2,672.91, for a grand total of $5,765.00.
CMMNJ still has almost 50,000 all hemp wristbands and necklaces that were donated last year. The multicolored bands were made in Romania. The suggested price is $1 apiece. Wholesale prices are available.
CMMNJ purchased and is distributing 72 copies of the Winter 2015/16 issue of O'Shaughnessy's. See: beyondthc.com
CMMNJ is grateful for the generous financial support of all who contributed to our mission to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana.
CMMNJ’s 2017 Recommendations:
⦁ Continue to build support for legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.
⦁ Begin national clinical studies of marijuana for MS and PTSD.
⦁ Reschedule or deschedule marijuana, both in New Jersey and nationally.
⦁ Expand New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program by adding qualifying conditions; also, improve the program in ways that bring timely access of high quality and affordable marijuana to patients who can benefit from it.
Schedule of CMMNJ 2017 meetings:
CMMNJ’s free, public meetings will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Branch of the Mercer County Library, Room #1. There will be no July meeting in 2017 due to a schedule conflict at the library. (Meeting at the library does not imply the county’s endorsement of our issue.)
Follow CMMNJ on Facebook,
Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/
Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618
January 1, 2017