Thursday, October 4, 2018

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for October 9, 2018

Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve September 2018 minutes. Discuss:

NJ Senate vote coming October 29th on legalization bill, S2703? The Scutari/Sweeney bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing--10/15, 10/18, or 10/22? Committee hearings are the time for public input. A bill approved in committee is likely to pass in the entire Senate. (The process is repeated in the Assembly before the bill is sent to the governor’s desk.) CMMNJ priorities: home cultivation; automatic expungement; diversity; home delivery; and, rebuilding the communities devastated by the war on marijuana. Hoboken, Newark & Jersey City mayors demand social equity in marijuana legalization law. Opposition is strong and vocal, including law enforcement. Cannabis industry is lobbying for reform. NJ State League of Municipalities urge mayors to request 5% tax on sales of legal marijuana.

Six New Dispensaries to expand access to Medicinal Marijuana in NJ; Applications were due 8/31/18. Six winners out of the 146 applicants will be announced 11/1/18. Applicants are seeking community support for proposed ATC sites in Trenton, Brick, Vineland, Clayton, etc.

Medicinal Marijuana Program: NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: CMMNJ awaits response to our comments.

Petition: Legalize home cultivation in NJ! Legalization letter to NJ officials. DPA Petition: Marijuana Legalization Must be Fair and Equitable

NJ Assembly passes Resolution 183 and tells Congress to stop federal bank regulators from punishing banks that serve marijuana businesses.

Upcoming Events: Cannabis unleashed; NJ Alternative Medicine, Cherry Hill, 6-9 pm.
“Cannabis in your Community” MCCC Trenton 10/10/18, 6-8 pm, by Trenton Cannabis Community;
“Green on the Morristown Green” N. Park Place, Morristown, NJ, 10/20/18, 11 am to 6 pm
Sativa Cross seeks input for #StillWaiting videos.

Recent events: 2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.
“Breaking Stigmas & the Benefits of Cannabis” Ewing, NJ Senior Center, 9/20.
Leo Bridgewater & People of Color in the Cannabis Community

Treasury report: Checking: $4306; PayPal: $2605. Ken's Birthday Fundraiser for CMMNJ $425!

CMMNJ’s meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org
Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ

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



Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
September 11, 2018

August 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

Vote coming in September on NJ legalization bill? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; S2702 CMMNJ priorities: home cultivation; Ed to improve expungement language, diversity, protect out-of-state patients. Appt. sought with Asm. Herb Conaway to discuss home cultivation.

New Jersey voters support 62% - 33% allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Voters also support 63% - 27% erasing criminal records for marijuana possession.

CMMNJ’s letter-to-the-editor in Press of A.C.:  Legal marijuana would make NJ healthier, safer

Stockton U. to let students minor in marijuana

Web site update: Amanda is working with Nick & Mike to OK changes made by Brian.

New Jersey's attorney general: adjourned all marijuana cases in municipal courts until Sept. Now, A.G. says prosecutors may exercise discretion and choose not to prosecute some marijuana cases.

Petition: Legalize home cultivation in NJ!

Six New Dispensaries To Expand Access to Medicinal Marijuana in NJ; Applications were due 8/31/18. Six winners out of the 146 applicants will be announced Nov. 1, 2018.

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: CMMNJ submitted written comments on 8/17/18.

Federal Court: Employer Need Not Waive Drug Test for Medical Marijuana User

NJ medical marijuana: A beginner's guide to the process

Upcoming Events: 2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.
Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana: 9/20 Ewing Sr. Center 6 pm.
Recent events: Medical Marijuana: Implications for the Disability Community: Wed., 8/8
Ignorance is No Excuse Tour goes to Hightstown.
Ed Forchion at the Legislative Black Caucus

Treasury report: Checking: $4045; PayPal: $2605. Ken's Birthday Fundraiser for CMMNJ

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

CMMNJ September 11, 2018 Public Meeting Agenda



Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve August 2018 minutes. Discuss:

Vote coming in September on NJ legalization bill? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; New Jersey voters support 62% - 33% allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Voters also support 63% - 27% erasing criminal records for marijuana possession.

CMMNJ legalization priorities: home cultivation; automatic expungement, diversity of industry, protection of out-of-state patients.

CMMNJ’s published letter-to-the-editorLegal marijuana would make NJ healthier, safer

Stockton U. to let students minor in marijuana

New Jersey's attorney general: adjourned all marijuana cases in municipal courts until Sept. Now, A.G. says prosecutors may exercise discretion and choose not to prosecute some marijuana cases.
Petition: Legalize home cultivation in NJ!

Six New Dispensaries To Expand Access to Medicinal Marijuana in NJ; Applications were due 8/31/18. Six winners out of the 146 applicants will be announced Nov. 1, 2018.

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: CMMNJ submitted written comments on 8/17/18. 

Federal Court: Employer Need Not Waive Drug Test for Medical Marijuana User

NJ medical marijuana: A beginner's guide to the process

Upcoming Events: 2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.

Recent events: Medical Marijuana: Implications for the Disability Community: 8/8/18
Ignorance is No Excuse Tour goes to Hightstown.
Ed Forchion at the Legislative Black Caucus

Treasury report: Checking: $4045; PayPal: $2605. Ken's Birthday Fundraiser for CMMNJ

CMMNJ’s meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com
http://www.cmmnj.org

Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

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




Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
August 14, 2018

July 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

Six New Dispensaries To Expand Access to Medicinal Marijuana in NJ; Applications are due 8/31/18. Applicants chosen to proceed in the permitting process will be announced Nov. 1, 2018. Mandatory conference at War Memorial, Trenton on 8/9/18 for applicants.

DOH Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D. conducted two grand rounds lectures in July with 300 physicians at NJ teaching hospitals to dispel myths and reduce stigma in the medical community. Letter from Extra Step Assurance noted re: MD education.

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: Submit written comments electronically or by regular mail postmarked by August 17, 2018. CMMNJ’s proposed comments were shared with CMMNJ Board prior to submission to NJ DOH. CMMNJ also proposes new regs. Eaze proposes home delivery of medical marijuana.

New Jersey's attorney general: adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts until Sept.

NJ.com poll (unscientific): 80% say legalize it in NJ.  Petition: Legalize home cultivation in NJ!
NJ cops toughest in nation for pot arrests: marijuana possession is 10.6 percent of all arrests

What will NJ legalization bill look like? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; S2702 Medical marijuana expansion bills: S1955 and several others. Priorities: home cultivation; automatic expungement, diversity, recognize out-of-state patients. State Bank discussed.
AAA push back report discussed.

Upcoming Events: Medical Marijuana: Implications for the Disability Community: Wed., 8/8/18
2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.
CMMNJ TV with Air Force veteran Chris Errickson of SAVE (Safe Access for Vets Everywhere)

Recent events: The Grassroots Cannabis Forum, July 7th, Kennedy Park, Asbury Park.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18.
Morristown “Green on the Green,” 8/4/18, Morristown, NJ.
Newark Today: The Path To Legalization: July 19, Mayor Ras Baraka, State Senator Ron Rice
NJWeedman Victory Party/Joint Fundraising Party, Trenton, 8/5/18.

Treasury report: Checking: $4545; PayPal: $2642.

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

Saturday, August 25, 2018

2002 Medical Marijuana Resolution


New Jersey State Nurses Association
Resolution Concerning Therapeutic Marijuana

Summary: A number of New Jersey residents would benefit from access to therapeutic marijuana as a form of treatment for their health problems.

Whereas: Marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries, and marijuana was widely prescribed by physicians in the United States until 1937, and;

Whereas: Marijuana has been reported to be effective in: a) reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma, b) reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, c) stimulating the appetite for patients living with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and suffering from the wasting syndrome, d) controlling spasticity associated with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis, and;

Whereas: Patients not helped by conventional medications and treatments may find relief from their suffering with the use of marijuana, and;

Whereas: The relative safety of marijuana has been established and the benefits associated with medical marijuana use would outweigh any potential adverse effects, and;

Whereas: Nurses have a fundamental responsibility to promote health, to prevent illness, to restore health and to alleviate suffering, and;

Whereas: Thirty-three states have passed legislation recognizing marijuana’s therapeutic value, and eight states have removed criminal penalties for use, possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical reasons, and;

Whereas: Ten State Nurses Associations, the American Nurses Association, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association and various other health-related associations have favorable positions on medical marijuana education and/or use, therefore,

Be it resolved that The New Jersey State Nurses Association:

1. Recognizes the therapeutic value and safety of medically recommended marijuana; and,
2. Recognizes the effect of second hand smoke on those in the immediate therapeutic environment; and,
3. Supports legal access to medically recommended marijuana for patients in New Jersey who are under the care of a licensed health care provider; and,
4. Urges the Governor of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Legislature to move expeditiously to make medical marijuana legally available to New Jersey residents who can benefit from it.



 References:
1. Abel EA, Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1982.
2. Mikuriya TH, ed. Marijuana: Medical Papers 1839-1972. Oakland, CA: Medic-Comp Press, 1973.
3. Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-513, October 27, 1970, 21USC801 et seq.).
4. Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics. “No accepted medical value??” ACT News. Spring, 1995.
5. Grinspoon L, Bakalar JB, “Marihuana as Medicine: A plea for reconsideration”. JAMA. 1995; 273 (23:1875-1876).
6. Colasanti BK. “Review: Ocular hypotensive effect of marihuana cannabinoids: Correlate of central action or separate phenomenon”. J. Ocular Pharmacol. 1986;2(3):295-304.
7. Sallan Se, Zinberg NE, Frei III E. “Antiemetic effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionol in cancer chemotherapy”. New Engl J. Med. 1975;293(16):795-797.
8. Nelson K, Walsh E. Deeter P, et al. “A phase II study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionol for appetite stimulation in cancer-associated anorexia”. J. Palliative Care. 1994;10(1):14-18.
9. Clifford DB. “Tetrahydrocannabinol for tremor in multiple sclerosis”. Ann Neurol. 1983:13:669-671.
10. Mechoulam R, ed. Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents, Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press, 1986.
11. Beers MH & Berkow R, ed. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Whitehorse Station, NJ, Merck Research Laboratories, 1999. P.1590-1.
12. “ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses,” revised 2000, International Council of Nurses, CH 1201 Geneva, Switzerland.  http://www.icn.ch/icncode.pdf
13. Randall RC, ed. Marijuana, Medicine & the Law, Washington, DC, Galen Press, 1988. P 278-9.
14. Randall RC, ed. Marijuana, Medicine & the Law Vol. II, Washington, DC, Galen Press, 1989.
15. Marijuana Policy Project “Partial List of Organizations with Favorable Medical Marijuana Positions” 2000. http://www.mpp.org/statelaw/app_q.html

Submitted by:      Kenneth R. Wolski, RN
Date Submitted:  January 16, 2002
Date Approved:    March 20, 2002

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Comments on the Proposed Regulations from the NJ Department of Health, Division of Medicinal Marijuana

Medical Marijuana patients greatly appreciate the obvious effort the personnel of the Department of Health (Department) expended in rescuing the Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) from the currently often cruel and counterproductive regulations.  Many regulations were designed to delay the program’s implementation and severely limit patient access.  The Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) applauds the current proposal which resonates with a refreshing commitment to patient welfare.

CMMNJ’s intent is to seek to improve what is already an excellent proposal and far superior to the existing regulations.  We base our comments on years of listening to concerns raised by patients, information gained through other state programs and insights provided by our experts.  Based on the tenor of the regulatory proposal, we have every confidence that the Department will give full and fair consideration to our comments and concerns in the interests of benefitting patients, which we all agree is the purpose of this enactment.  We have provided what we trust are adequate rationales for each of our recommendations but would be pleased to answer any questions the Department may have.

In the Summary of the Department of Health’s Proposed Readoption with Amendments of N.J.A.C 8:64, the Department notes on page 4:
"P.L. 2015, c. 158 (approved November 9, 2015), at § 1, established N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.22, which requires those in charge of schools to establish policies for the administration of medicinal marijuana, by means other than smoking and inhalation, to students, if they are “qualifying patients” within the meaning of the Act, while they are on school grounds and buses, and at school-sponsored events. P.L. 2015, c. 158, § 2, established N.J.S.A. 30:6D-5b, which requires administrators of facilities offering services for persons with developmental disabilities to establish policies for the administration of medicinal marijuana to those persons, if they are facility clients and “qualifying patients” within the meaning of the Act, while they are on facility premises."
What is missing is an evaluation of how this law is working. How many patients in schools and facilities for the developmentally disabled qualify for medical marijuana?  How many of these patients are actually receiving medical marijuana as a result of this law? Are caregivers actually able to come to these facilities one or more times a day to administer medical marijuana to qualifying patients? Families of patients typically report that these patients are not getting the medical marijuana that they require in order to control their serious medical conditions (seizures, chronic pain, anxiety, etc.) Thus, the clear intent of this law is being frustrated by the inability of caregivers/family members to report to these facilities one or more times a day to administer medical marijuana. On the other hand, staff at these facilities are trained to safely administer and account for other controlled substances. The staff of these facilities should be empowered to administer medical marijuana as well, to relieve the families of this burden while meeting the needs of the patients, in compliance with the intent of the law.

In the Summary of the Department of Health’s Proposed Readoption with Amendments of N.J.A.C 8:64, the Department notes on page 6:
"On January 23, 2018, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 6 (EO 6), in which he directed the Department and the Board of Medical Examiners to “undertake a review of all aspects of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, with a focus on ways to expand access to marijuana for medical purposes.”
The Department’s Executive Order 6 Report (Issued by Acting Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D., M.B.A. on March 23, 2018) is clear and welcome. What is missing is the report from the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners (BME). Is this report forthcoming? On 7/3/18, CMMNJ sent an email to the BME asking them about their missing input from EO 6 and they have not had the courtesy to reply. CMMNJ certainly hopes they treat the governor with more respect. The EO 6 Report notes that:
“There are 523 MMP-approved physicians throughout the State (as of February 15, 2018), (while) only 79% are actively writing patient statements and treating patients.” 
There are approximately 28,000 physicians in New Jersey, so less than 2% of the total New Jersey physicians are participating in the MMP. This is an unacceptable level of physician participation in the MMP that the BME and the Department must address. Currently patients must search the Department web site for a physician to recommend marijuana for them. Typically, these physicians charge cash (usually over $100) for each visit as they contend that a patient’s health insurance does not cover medical marijuana. Additionally, patients are required to return to the participating physician every 30, 60 or 90 days for a renewal of the medical marijuana recommendation. This is an added and unnecessary expense for many of the New Jersey medical marijuana patients who already have to contend with the most expensive medical marijuana in the U.S. The Department is currently developing “Provider Education Program and Dosing Guidelines.” The Department notes that:
“With the expansion of authorized debilitating conditions, the Department recognizes the need to provide education and guidance to providers. To that end, the Department is exploring the creation of an education program for all physicians, with focus on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).” 
There are already a number of educational programs on the ECS that are approved for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for physicians. The Department should adopt one of these programs immediately, and require mandatory ECS education for all physicians in New Jersey who have prescription privileges as a condition of continued licensure in the state. A great many more people in New Jersey are going to be using marijuana in the near future and it is incumbent upon prescribers to be familiar with how marijuana works in conjunction with traditional therapies in controlling and managing health problems. Additionally, the Department should allow anyone in New Jersey who has prescription privileges, including Advance Practice Nurses, Physician’s Assistants, Dentists and Veterinarians, to recommend medical marijuana. Marijuana is part of mainstream medicine, despite the fact that 98% of New Jersey physicians have shown little or no interest in learning about the ECS, a system that interacts with all the other systems in the body and a system that may well play a role in all disease processes affecting humans and animals.

All References are to NJAC 8:64:

Sec. 2.2 “Application for registration as a qualifying patient”: (g) (Proposed) In recognition of the fact that New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and a total of 30 states now have medical marijuana laws, the Department shall recognize current, valid medical marijuana ID cards that are issued by any other state in the country, and these patients shall not be subject to criminal penalties for possession and use of marijuana that is consistent with New Jersey’s regulations.

Sec 2.5 “Physician certification…(c) A physician may issue multiple written instructions at one time authorizing the patient to receive a total of up to a 90-day supply.” This amounts to a needless expense for a number of patients who suffer from life-long debilitating medical conditions. It should be extended to allow for either a 6-month supply, or better still, left up to the authorizing physician in consultation with the patient to determine when a return visit is appropriate.

Sec 2.5 (a) 9: Requires that the physician educate the patient “on the lack of scientific consensus for the use of medical marijuana, its sedative properties, and the risk of addiction.”  The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (Act) stands in direct contradiction to this unwarranted requirement when it states:
“Modern medical research has discovered a beneficial use for marijuana in treating of alleviating the pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in March 1999.”  (C.24:6I-2a)
Thus, the Act directly contradicts the required, disingenuous assertion. In recorded human history, there has never been a single fatality from the use of marijuana. It is impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana. Nor is the risk of addiction a major concern with marijuana. After stopping, less than 10 percent of users experience noticeable withdrawal symptoms even after heavy, long-term use of marijuana. These withdrawal symptoms, when noticed, are typically mild and include irritability and sleep disturbance. There are no serious withdrawal symptoms like those noted with alcohol (delirium tremens or DTs, seizures, death); heroin (flu-like symptoms); or nicotine (intense craving). The addiction potential for marijuana is about equivalent to that of caffeine. Let’s be clear that there is no lack of scientific consensus on the existence of the ECS, its role, and its importance in managing diseases, medical conditions and symptoms, at least among those who study the issue. What lack of consensus there is for the use of medical marijuana is a direct result of the federal government’s refusal to allow any large-scale clinical trials of marijuana. While there have been successful, small scale clinical trials of marijuana, the federal government continues to obstruct research into the benefits of medical marijuana. Thus, physicians in New Jersey are required to make a political statement about marijuana without a thorough explanation of why a lack of scientific consensus on medical marijuana exists. One might also argue that now, with 30 of 50 states having medical marijuana programs, there is indeed a consensus, scientific as well as popular, on the use and benefits of medical marijuana.

Sec. 3.4 (c): In comments, this limits caregiver to marijuana only from the ATC named on the registry ID card. This needs to be changed to allow flexibility for quick changes between ATCs, without the need for a new card. The reality is that caregivers report they can already change their ATC without getting a new ID card. Please note there is NO Sec. 3.4 in the published proposed Regulations (pages 51-52) (?)

Sec. 9.6: The Department wisely recommends no change to the “Alcohol and drug-free workplace policy” for ATCs, which includes, “1. The policy’s inapplicability if an employee, who is also a qualifying patient, fails the drug test solely because of the presence of marijuana in a confirmed positive test result.” Indeed, this workplace protection for medical marijuana patients should become the standard for all businesses in New Jersey. It makes no sense to penalize a patient in the workplace for using the very physician-recommended medication that, in many cases, allows that employee to participate in the workplace in the first place.

Sec. 10.12: Continues the prohibition on home delivery. This is unacceptable and must be eliminated and home delivery expressly permitted.

Sec. 11.4: Requires the ATCs to develop standards for documenting patient self-assessment. In order to ensure standardization, the Department should provide the standards and specifically a questionnaire.

Sec 13.4: Adopt “Patient Focused Certification” in order to bring national standards to every aspect of the MMP (testing, etc.) through Quality Assurance audits using the industry’s best technical experts: https://safeaccess2.org/patientfocusedcertification//

CMMNJ proposes the addition of patient/caregiver home cultivation under stringent controls:

(Proposed) Sec. 8:64-13.12 In recognition of the facts that there are an insufficient number of ATCs to serve the existing patients; and, there is a greatly expanding patient need for medical marijuana; and, the ATC prices for medical marijuana exceed what many patients can afford (as well as what the illegal market charges); and, the Act provides for patient access from ATCs but does not prohibit patient growing; and, there is a greater need for stringent control over growers for general consumption that are not necessary for individual patients growing for themselves; and, not all strains necessary for patients are available from ATCs when needed by the patients; and, the very act of cultivating medical marijuana may itself provide therapeutic benefit to patients; and, the majority of states that have medical marijuana programs in the country allow home cultivation by patients; and, in recognition of the fact that the state is moving toward legalization of marijuana for recreational use; now therefore, patients or their registered caregivers shall be allowed to apply to the Department for a permit to grow up to 6 marijuana plants on the conditions that follow.

Sec.8:64-13.12 a. A patient who qualifies for a MMP ID card shall provide a completed DOH self-grow application and pay a fee to the DOH of up to $60 to apply for the self-growing permit ($10 per plant). 
b. The DOH shall review the application, decide, and notify the applicant within 60 days whether it will or will not authorize a self-grow permit.  If the DOH grants a permit, it shall be expressly limited solely to the patient’s personal use and any other distribution shall subject the patient to any applicable penalties as well as withdrawal of the privilege and revocation of their patient registration.
c. The permit shall be effective for one year and shall limit the applicant to a maximum of 6 mature plants. Each plant shall bear a tag issued by the DOH that identifies the plant as legally permissible to law enforcement officers. Plants shall only be cultivated indoors in a room or area that can be locked.
d. The applicant shall apply for a renewal each year at least 60 but no more than 90 days before the permit is scheduled to expire. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed medical marijuana regulations from the New Jersey Department of Health Division of Medicinal Marijuana.

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

Monday, August 6, 2018

CMMNJ August 14, 2018 Meeting Agenda & July Minutes



Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve July 2018 minutes. Discuss:

Six New Dispensaries To Expand Access to Medicinal Marijuana in NJ; applications are due 8/31/18. Successful applicants will be announced Nov. 1, 2018.

NJ Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D. conducted two grand rounds lectures in July with 300 physicians at NJ teaching hospitals to dispel myths and reduce stigma in the medical community.

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: Submit written comments by August 17, 2018, electronically or by regular mail postmarked by 8/17/18.

New Jersey's attorney general: adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts until Sept.
Petition: Legalize home cultivation in NJ!
NJ.com poll: 80% say legalize it in NJ.
NJ cops toughest in nation for pot arrests: marijuana possession is 10.6 percent of all arrests

What will NJ legalization bill look like?
S830/A1348/A3819; A3581A1557S2703S2702 (combination); medical marijuana expansion bills: S1955 (Jake Honig's Law) and several others.

Upcoming Events:
Medical Marijuana: Implications for the Disability Community: Wed., 8/8/18 Hilton Garden Inn, 800 US Highway 130, Hamilton, NJ 8:30 am to 10:30 am. $30 includes breakfast.

NJ DOH meeting for prospective ATC owners in NJ, Trenton War Memorial, 8/9/18 10 – 12 noon.

2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.

Recent events:
The Grassroots Cannabis Forum, Kennedy Park, Asbury Park 7/7/18.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18.
“Green on the Mo'town Green,” 8/4/18, Morristown, NJ.
Newark Today: The Path To Legalization: July 19, Mayor Ras Baraka, State Senator Ron Rice
NJWeedman Victory Party/Joint Fundraising Party, Trenton, 8/5/18.

Treasury report: Checking: $4545; PayPal: $2642.

CMMNJ’s meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA
(609) 394-2137
ohamkrw@aol.com
http://www.cmmnj.org

Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

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



Monthly Public Meeting Minutes
July 12, 2018

June 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: Submit written comments by August 17, 2018: Ed and Ken to work on CMMNJ response but input welcome from all.

NJ MMP has over 25,000 patients registered so far; Harmony ATC opened 6/18 in Secaucus, NJ. CMMNJ met with DOH Assistant Commissioner Jeff Brown; what states have marijuana co-ops? Send info to DOH.

DOH Newsletter Health Matters features NJ MMP.

No response from the BME to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6 (email sent to BME 7/3): https://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf
Call in to OAG re: results of marijuana rescheduling hearings 4/19/18, Newark & 4/24/18 Trenton.
NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18 and 4/21/18 and 5/12/18. Email sent 7/3 for results.

What will NJ legalization bill look like? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; S2702 (combination); medical marijuana expansion bills: S1955 (Jake Honig law) and several others.

Recent events: Trenton Cannabis Meeting 6/6/18—radio interview with Jacque Pierre Howard; Trenton mayoral election, 6/12, won by Reed Gusciora, NJ’s legislative champion of marijuana reform.
Opioid Epidemic in NJ: Prevention and Harm Reduction, Douglass College 6/22/18.
Statehouse podcast on the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s 2003 death, 6/7/18 at 1:11PM.
Roots of Us LLC interviewed Ken Wolski 7/2/18.

Treasury report: Checking: $3810; PayPal: $2642.
More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 10, 2018 Public Meeting Agenda & June Minutes



Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve June 2018 minutes. Discuss:

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations: Submit written comments by regular mail postmarked by 8/17/18, or electronically by 8/17/18 to http://www.nj.gov/health/legal/ecomments.shtml.

NJ MMP has over 25,000 patients registered so far; Harmony ATC opened 6/18 in Secaucus, NJ. CMMNJ met with DOH Asst.Commissioner Jeff Brown; DOH Newsletter Health Matters features NJ MMP.

No response from the BME to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6 (email sent to BME 7/3). E.O. #6 Report: https://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf

Call in to OAG re: results of marijuana rescheduling hearings 4/19/18, Newark & 4/24/18 Trenton.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18 and 4/21/18 and 5/12/18. Email sent 7/3 for results.

What will NJ legalization bill look like? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; S2702 (combination) & medical marijuana expansion bills: S1955 (Jake Honig's Law) and several others.

Recent events: Trenton Cannabis Meeting 6/6/18—radio interview with Jacque Pierre Howard; New Trenton mayor, Reed Gusciora, is NJ’s legislative champion of marijuana reform.
Opioid Epidemic in NJ: Prevention and Harm Reduction, Douglass College 6/22/18.
Statehouse podcast on the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s 2003 death, 6/7/18 at 1:11PM.
Roots of Us LLC interviewed Ken Wolski 7/2/18.

Upcoming Events:
The Grassroots Cannabis Forum, 7/7/18, Kennedy Park, Asbury Park 11-2:30 pm.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18, 7 – 8 pm.
2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, August 18.
Morristown Green Event, 8/4/18, Morristown, NJ.

Treasury report: Checking: $3810; PayPal: $2642.

CMMNJ’s meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org
Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.
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Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
June 12, 2018

May 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

NJ Medical Marijuana Program adding over 100 patients/day; over 22,000 patients registered so far.

Marijuana rescheduling/descheduling hearings at OAG: 4/19/18 in Newark and 4/24/18 in Trenton. For CMMNJ testimony, click link. We still await summaries or other results of these hearings.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18, 4/21/18, and 5/12/18. The federal STATES Act was introduced to require the federal government to respect the decisions of states on marijuana legalization.

NJ legalization bill in 2018 legislative session S830; medical marijuana expansion bill: S10, in addition to other bills recently introduced. Bills vary on what they would allow/provide for.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion freed in retrial after spending over one year in jail!

Recent events: Global Marijuana Marches, 5/5/18 in NYC and 200 other cities.
Patients Out of Time conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18.
ASA Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18.
Garden State Cannabis Consultants TV interview with Ken Wolski.

Upcoming Events: Trenton Cannabis Meeting 6/6/18; Trenton runoff election, 6/12.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18, 7 – 8 pm.
Statehouse podcast on the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s 2003 death, 6/7/18 at 1:11PM.
2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, August 18.
Opioid Epidemic in NJ: Prevention and Harm Reduction, Douglass College 6/22/18, 9 – 11 am.
Leo Bridgewater at Women Grow–Flemington, Lone Eagle Brewery, 6/7/18.
Women’s Cannabis Connection Picnic, last wknd in July, Cranbury.
Hemp Heals, July 28th.
Morristown Green Event, 8/4/18, Morristown, NJ.

Treasury report: Checking: $3545; PayPal: $2642.

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

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

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Agenda for June 12, 2018 Public Meeting



Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve May 2018 minutes. Discuss:

NJ Medical Marijuana Program adding over 100 patients/day; over 22,000 patients registered so far.

Marijuana rescheduling/descheduling hearings at NJ Office of Attorney General: 4/19/18 in Newark and 4/24/18 in Trenton. For CMMNJ testimony, click links. We still await summaries or other results of these hearings.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18 and 4/21/18. A follow up committee meeting was held on 5/12/18 at Bergen County Community College, Paramus.

NJ legalization bill in 2018 legislative session S830; medical marijuana expansion bill: S10.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion freed in retrial after spending over one year in jail!

Recent events:
Global Marijuana Marches, 5/5/18 in NYC and 200 other cities.
Patients Out of Time conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18.
ASA Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18.
Garden State Cannabis Consultants TV interview with Ken Wolski.
CMMNJ toured new Curaleaf dispensary at VIP reception.

Upcoming Events:
Trenton Cannabis Meeting 6/6/18; Trenton runoff election, 6/12.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18, 7 – 8 pm.
Statehouse podcast on the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s 2003 death, 6/7/18 at 1:11PM.
2018 Canna-Bash, Roebling Wire Works, Trenton, August 18 & 19.
Opioid Epidemic in NJ: Prevention and Harm Reduction, Douglass College 6/22/18, 9 – 11 am.
Leo Bridgewater at Women Grow–Flemington, Lone Eagle Brewery, 6/7/18.

Treasury report: Checking: $3545; PayPal: $2642.

CMMNJ’s meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

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




Monthly Public Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2018

April 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

May 24-25 is the 25th anniversary of Jim Miller pushing his wife’s wheelchair across the state of New Jersey to raise awareness for medical marijuana. June 7th is the anniversary of Cheryl’s death in 2003.

Descheduling hearings: 4/19/18 in Newark and 4/24/18 in Trenton.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18 and 4/21/18. A follow up committee meeting is scheduled for 5/12/18 @10 am at Bergen County Community College, Paramus.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion’s retrial starts 5/7/18; found guilty of nothing! Free him!

Nick will host CMMNJ TV; Nick to contact Dianna re: 5/15 CMMNJ TV (2-4 pm).

Will state insurance cover medical marijuana?

Recent events:
April 20th (420) marijuana march from City Hall to rally at State House in Trenton.
Trenton Mayoral and council candidates’ event, 4/6 & 4/17, Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, 6-9pm.
NJ Cannabis Commission Response to NJ Black Caucus prohibitionists: Atlantic City, 4/24/18—attended by Shavone and Nick videotaped it.
CMMNJ toured pre-opening grow ops at Harmony Foundation ATC, Secaucus, NJ, 4/30/18.
Medical Marijuana Update, Mirage Care Givers Support Group, Barnegat, NJ, 4/18/18.
New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association met with ACLU NJ, LEAP and Bill Caruso, 5/2/18.

Upcoming Events:
Patients Out of Time event, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18
ASA Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18
Global Marijuana March, 5/5/18 Union Square, NYC, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware & 200 other cities.
Marijuana Legislation, Hilton Garden, Hamilton, NJ 5/11 from 8 – 10 am.
NJ CannaBusiness Assn., Bellmawr, NJ, 5/9 6 9 pm.
Treasury report: Checking: $2640; PayPal: $3727.

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org
CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

CMMNJ Agenda for May 2018 & April Minutes



Monthly Public Meeting Agenda 
Lawrence Township Library, Room #3 
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM

Approve April 2018 minutes. Discuss:

Descheduling hearings: 4/19/18 in Newark and 4/24/18 in Trenton. For CMMNJ testimony, click link.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee: CMMNJ testified in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18 and 4/21/18. A follow up committee meeting is scheduled for 5/12/18 @10 am at Bergen County Community College, Paramus.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689): Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail over one year; found guilty of nothing!  Retrial starts Monday, May 7, 2018 with jury selection. Free him!

Recent events:
April 20th (420) marijuana march from City Hall to rally at State House in Trenton.
Trenton Mayoral and council candidates’ event, 4/6 & 4/17, Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, 6-9pm.
NJ Cannabis Commission Response to NJ Black Caucus prohibitionists: Atlantic City, 4/24/18.
CMMNJ toured pre-opening grow ops at Harmony Foundation ATC, Secaucus, NJ, 4/30/18.
Medical Marijuana Update, Mirage Care Givers Support Group, Barnegat, NJ, 4/18/18.

Upcoming Events:
Patients Out of Time event, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18 https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/02/national-pot-conference-coming-to-new.html
ASA Unity Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18
Global Marijuana March, 5/5/18 Union Square, NYC, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware &. 200 other cities.

Treasury report: Checking: $2640; PayPal: $3727.

CMMNJ's meetings are the 2nd 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, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

Facebook: Friends of CMMNJ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/62462971150/

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




Monthly Public Meeting Minutes 
April 10, 2018

March 2018 minutes approved. Discussion:

Descheduling hearings: 4/19/18 in Newark and 4/24/18 in Trenton. Submit requests to speak & written comments by 4/12/18. Letter read from Steven Kadonsky #807236B, an inmate serving a life sentence at NJ State Prison/Trenton for a non-violent marijuana offense, whose lawsuit prompted the hearings. 

CMMNJ was invited to Gov. Murphy’s Press Conference on 3/27/18 for the Executive Order #6 Report: http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf
CMMNJ was very happy with the recommendations to expand conditions, end registry, cut fees, etc.

CMMNJ testified:
Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on 3/22/18 in support of Substitute bill A3437: https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/04/march-25-2018-revised-testimony.html
Assembly Appropriations Committee in support of A3421, “Jake Honig’s Law” on 4/5/18, to increase the limit of medical marijuana allowed, add oils, etc. CMMNJ made other recs.
Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ on 3/5/18. Follow up committee meetings are planned for 4/21 @ 10 am at Rowan U., Glassboro, and 5/12 @10 am at Bergen C.C., Paramus.

Advocates gave testimony in support of ATCs at council meetings in Parsippany and Hawthorne, NJ.

NJ’s legalization bills in 2018 legislative session (S830 / A1348).

Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689):
Urge support in Congress: Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

Political Prisoner Ed (NJWeedman) Forchion in jail over one year; found guilty of nothing! Free him!

Upcoming Events: Marijuana rally planned in Trenton on April 20th (420) from 9 am to 3 pm.
Patients Out of Time conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18.

POT Press release:
https://cmmnj.blogspot.com/2018/02/national-pot-conference-coming-to-new.html
Trenton mayoral and council candidates’ event, 4/6 & 4/17, Trinity Cathedral, 6-9pm.
NJ Cannabis Commission Response to NJ Black Caucus prohibitionists: Atlantic City, 4/24, 8-4pm.
ASA Unity Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18

Treasury report: Checking: $2952; PayPal: $3727.

More info: Ken Wolski, RN, MPA (609) 394-2137 ohamkrw@aol.com http://www.cmmnj.org

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

POT Comes to NJ: May 10 -12, Jersey City


“Patients Out of Time” Conference Coming to New Jersey, May 10-12, 2018

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, the President and Founding Director of “Patients Out of Time” (POT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization, is bringing her highly regarded cannabis/marijuana conference to New Jersey this year. POT’s 12th national conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” will be held May 10 – 12, 2018 at Loews Movie Palace, 54 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ. Registration information is available at: http://patientsoutoftime.org/the-twelfth-national-clinical-conference-on-cannabis-therapeutics/

The POT conference is an excellent way for physicians to earn CMEs and nurses and other healthcare professionals to earn contact hours (CEUs) for their continuing education requirements, while learning about the science that supports the use of marijuana/cannabis. POT conferences bring together some of the top marijuana researchers from across the country and from around the world.  Medical marijuana patients and activists are also represented at these conferences.

The theme of the conference, the use of marijuana in the treatment of pain and addiction, is particularly relevant to New Jersey this year.

In October 2017, the healthcare professionals in the Review Panel, appointed by the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH), recommended that 43 petitions be approved as additional qualifying conditions for marijuana therapy in the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP). The majority of these petitions concerned chronic pain of various origins. One of the petitions recommended for approval would allow marijuana to be recommended for Opioid Use Disorder.

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #6 on January 23, 2018 directing the DOH and the Board of Medical Examiners to review the MMP within 60 days and make recommendations to expand it and ease access to it. See: http://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-6.pdf

Governor Murphy announced at a press conference in Trenton on March 27, 2018 that the Commissioner of the DOH approved the recommendations of the Review Panel, along with other improvements to the MMP. For the full report on Executive Order 6, see:
http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/EO6Report_Final.pdf

The governor noted that “scientific studies demonstrate that the medical use of marijuana has proven to be an effective treatment for patients suffering from painful, debilitating, and often chronic medical conditions; (but) of New Jersey’s nine million residents, only approximately 15,000 are able to participate in the State’s MMP.” Expanding the MMP will “ensure that (patients) are receiving a product tailored to their medical needs, and make them less likely to turn to potentially more harmful and less medically appropriate drugs such as opioids, the use of which was declared a public health crisis.”

The governor said at the press conference, "For 8 years medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey, but the law's spirit has been stifled by a hostile administration. We've had medical marijuana in name only."

Governor Murphy also campaigned to legalize marijuana for adult use in New Jersey. Marijuana use is poised to become a great deal more prevalent in New Jersey with the expansion of the medical program and the possibility of legalization for adults. It therefore is incumbent on healthcare professionals to have a greater understanding of the expected effects, side effects, adverse effects, dosages and drug interactions associated with the use of this substance.

Attending the Patients Out of Time national conference, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” is an excellent place to start, or continue, this educational process.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.  www.cmmnj.org
219 Woodside Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08618
609.394.2137
ohamkrw@aol.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Deschedule Marijuana


Deschedule Marijuana: Remove it from the list of Controlled Dangerous Substances


Testimony to the 
Office of The Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
The Richard J Hughes Justice Complex
Attorney General's Library 
Trenton NJ 08611

April 24, 2018

by:
Kenneth R. Wolski, RN, MPA
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ  08618
(609) 394-2137 kenwolski@gmail.com

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who was President Obama's original choice to be U.S. Surgeon General, said, "We have been terribly and systematically misled (about marijuana) for nearly 70 years in the United States." This misinformation, fed by decades of cherry-picked science, continues. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which refuses to allow research into the benefits of medical marijuana, and only permits research into its harms, is an important part of this misinformation. The federal government still insists that there are no accepted medical benefits of marijuana despite the facts that: 
  • 30 states have passed laws recognizing marijuana as medicine; 
  • over a million Americans use marijuana with a physician's recommendation;
  • scores of healthcare organizations endorse medical marijuana; and, 
  • an entirely new field of science, based on the discovery of how marijuana actually works in the human body--the Endocannabinoid system--is emerging.

The issue is personal as well as professional for me.

In 1966, when I was a senior at Trenton Central High School, I did a term paper on drugs. Shortly after my research was completed I determined to try marijuana for myself. Marijuana was fairly easy to obtain, even back then. I experimented with marijuana a few times before I graduated from high school, over 50 years ago. I was convinced, even then, that the government was exaggerating the dangers associated with marijuana, as it continues to do today.

By 1969, I was a full time college student and I was using marijuana regularly, a couple of times a week. I was an advocate for marijuana law reform, and I was thrilled that the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 19, 1969. It was a political decision to ban marijuana in 1937, not a medical or scientific one. Previous scientific studies like the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report were ignored. The draconian penalties against the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana were entirely inappropriate. These penalties were the result of government misinformation and propaganda that insisted that the use of marijuana led invariably to “insanity, criminality and death.” My own direct experience, and the experience of millions of others, was that the use of marijuana was more likely to lead to “peace, love and happiness.”

For a short time in 1969 and 1970, there was no federal law against the use of marijuana. My initial elation at this fact was tempered by the realization that the vast majority of marijuana arrests were at the state and local level. The laws against marijuana at these levels were still intact and marijuana arrests were rising every year nationally. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), annual marijuana arrests in the U.S. went from 31,000 in 1966 to 188,000 in 1970:

My hopes for reform of marijuana laws were further tempered by Congress rushing through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA was introduced in Congress in September 10, 1970 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 27, 1970. I well remember the controversy and even outrage from some when it was learned that marijuana was to be included, along with heroin, as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it had no accepted medical uses in the U.S.

A growing population of health care professionals and patients realized by 1970 that marijuana had medical uses, at a minimum for use in the management of glaucoma and for the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. My research showed that marijuana was used medicinally in many different cultures throughout history. Indeed, marijuana was a recognized medicinal in the U.S. for about 100 years, from approximately 1840 to 1940. There were about 100 articles about the therapeutic value of cannabis/marijuana in the American scientific journals of the day. Marijuana/cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia in 1942 because of a campaign of government propaganda against it that led to the passage of the now-unconstitutional Marijuana Tax in 1937. Marijuana was taken OFF the U.S. market for political reasons when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937.  There was no scientific evidence that marijuana led to “insanity, criminality and death” as alleged by government officials then.  Marijuana was legal in the U.S. for medical purposes longer than it was illegal.

To quell the outrage about marijuana’s inclusion as a Schedule I drug, the government promised that this was only temporary, pending the results of a commission that was being appointed to study whether marijuana was appropriately included as a Schedule I drug. 

After the CSA passed in 1970, President Nixon appointed the Shafer Commission to study whether marijuana was properly classified.  The Shafer Commission, a handpicked group of conservative politicians and academicians, studied the issue for almost two years.  Their findings were that marijuana should not be included as a scheduled drug at all, but rather that it be decriminalized for adult use in the U.S.  The Shafer Commission said, “The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior.”  However, President Nixon ignored the results of the commission he appointed.  

I recommend that the entire Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding” commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972 be entered into the record of this hearing.

Some salient excerpts from the above report include: 
  • “Cannabis sativa has been used therapeutically from the earliest records, nearly 5,000 years ago, to the present day (Mikuriya, 1969: 34) and its products have been widely noted for their effects, both physiological and psychological, throughout the world.”
  • “For a half-century, official social policy has been not only to discourage use but to eliminate it…With the principal responsibility for this policy assigned to law enforcement, its implementation reached its zenith in the late 1950's and early 1960's when marihuana-related offenses were punishable by long periods of incarceration. This policy grew out of a distorted and greatly exaggerated concept of the drug's ordinary effects upon the individual and the society.”
  • “Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it. This judgment is based on prevalent, use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable.”
  • “The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate.”
  • “The most notable statement that can be made about the vast majority of marihuana users-experimenters and intermittent users-is that they are essentially indistinguishable from their non-marihuana using peers by any fundamental criterion other than their marihuana use.”
  • “On the basis of our findings…we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective.”
  • “Marijuana has important therapeutic qualities which should be aggressively explored.”
  • “The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug.”


In 1972 the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT), and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) petitioned the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) to reschedule marijuana to a Schedule II drug, to make it available for doctors to prescribe. The BNDD, which was the precursor to the DEA, and later the DEA refused to hold hearings for 14 years. They had to be taken to court three times before they would hold the hearings and finally in 1986, hearings were begun. 

Regarding these hearings, I highly recommend the two volume book, “Marijuana, Medicine & the Law,” R.C. Randall, editor, Galen Press, Washington, D.C., 1988. Volume I is the record of “Direct Testimony of Witnesses On Marijuana’s Medical Use In The Treatment of Life- & Sense-Threatening Diseases Including Cancer, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Para- & Quadriplegia, Chronic Pain & Skin Disorders In Hearings Before The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.” Volume II is the record of “Legal Briefs, Oral Arguments & Decision Of The Administrative Law Judge On Marijuana’s Medical Use In the Treatment of Life- & Sense-Threatening Diseases.”

Doctors, nurses, patients and researchers testified that marijuana should be available. Researchers additionally testified about the difficulty of conducting research on marijuana due to the federal government’s restrictions. The DEA testified why marijuana should remain unavailable. The decision was given by the US Department of Justice, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young on September 6, 1988. He said:
  • “The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and during so with safety under medical supervision.”
  • “It would be unreasoning, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between these sufferers and this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”
  • “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” 

Marijuana should have been rescheduled and approved nationwide for medical use then and there. Unfortunately, the Administrator of the DEA overturned the judge’s decision, acting in an arbitrary, capricious and unreasoning manner.

Subsequent attempts to reschedule marijuana on the federal level have been unfairly frustrated and similarly unsuccessful. The DEA even manipulates the English language. In its July 2011 denial of a nine-year-old petition to reschedule marijuana, the DEA said that marijuana had a high potential for abuse. But according to the DEA, abuse of marijuana does not mean that the use of marijuana is interfering with a person’s life in some negative way, marijuana abuse means any use of marijuana, even when recommended by physicians in state-legal programs, since marijuana is federally illegal except for research purposes. Like in Alice in Wonderland, words mean what the DEA wants them to mean.

The DEA also said in July 2011 that it could not reschedule marijuana because no large-scale clinical trials have been done. There have been a number of very successful small-scale double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trials of marijuana in the U.S. These successful trials would presumably lead to large-scale trials. But NIDA, the only official source of research grade marijuana in the U.S., following its mandate, does not approve research into the benefits of marijuana. Moreover, NIDA has never had a sufficient supply of marijuana to conduct these trials. 

Professor Lyle Craker from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst faculty is an example of an unsuccessful 10-year struggle to grow a sufficient supply of marijuana to conduct large scale clinical trials. Prof. Craker’s research was approved by the university and the FDA, but DEA refused to allow him to proceed. The professor took DEA to court and DEA’s own Judge Bittner ruled the professor should proceed, and that the federal government’s supply of marijuana was “inadequate” but DEA overruled the judge: http://www.maps.org/research/mmj/mmj-news/2525-background-on-the-craker-lawsuit


As we have seen, researchers have complained for over 30 years that access to marijuana for research purposes has consistently been stymied.  It is absurd to have DEA be the final arbiter of what clinical and scientific studies can be done on marijuana in America. DEA is part of the Department of Justice—federal police. We should not have federal police guarding and limiting our scientific borders. This is inappropriate and unreasonable. We must resolve, as a nation, to stop DEA’s interference with science and medicine and never let it happen again.

This is beyond Kafkaesque. It is an embarrassment to science, to countless health care professionals and to patients nationwide.

I have been hearing since the 1960’s that more research on marijuana is needed. In all that time, there has never once been a clinical trial of marijuana in New Jersey for any disease, symptom or medical condition. 

Opponents of marijuana reform say that there are no long term studies of the safety of marijuana, and that we must wait 20 years or so for these long-term studies to be completed—studies that have not even begun yet. This is nonsense. Millions of Baby Boomers have been using marijuana for 50 or more years. You have only to look around you for evidence of marijuana’s long term safety. It promotes nothing but useless suffering to say more study is needed and then do nothing about the lack of studies.  

For the following reasons, marijuana must be rescheduled in New Jersey:
  • Marijuana is considered medicine in 30 states, including New Jersey and the District of Columbia, by duly passed legislation; and, 
  • Marijuana has historically been used as a medicine both in the United States and in much of the world; and,
  • The Shafer Report concluded that marijuana was misclassified as a Schedule I drug and should be decriminalized for adult use in the U.S.; and,
  • DEA Judge Francis Young concluded that marijuana should be rescheduled after a public hearing on the issue; and,
  • Numerous legitimate health care organizations have issued statements that recognize the therapeutic safety and efficacy of marijuana.

In 2008, the American College of Physicians (ACP), the country’s second-largest physician group called on the federal government to reschedule marijuana. In 2009, the American Medical Association (AMA) urged the federal government to reschedule marijuana. The ACP and the AMA join the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the British Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and dozens of other organizations of healthcare professionals in calling for rescheduling of marijuana, but the federal government continues to refuse to do so.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already acknowledged (in the Garden Grove decision) that states have the right to determine the proper practice of medicine within each state.  In the Garden Grove case the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s decision that said: "Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act to combat recreational drug abuse and curb drug trafficking.  Its goal was not to regulate the practice of medicine, a task that falls within the traditional powers of the states.”

Marijuana prohibition rests on a lie. The lie is that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, with no accepted medical uses in the U.S., is unsafe for use even under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse. None of that is true. New Jersey is one of 30 states that have accepted medical uses for marijuana; the safety profile of marijuana is the envy of most prescription drugs and even many over-the-counter drugs, and while marijuana may have a high potential for use, it does not typically interfere with a person’s life to the extent that it could be considered “abuse.” Most people who use marijuana—about 20 million Americans a month—use it periodically or episodically. As a Schedule I drug, marijuana is in the same class with heroin, a powerfully addictive and potentially deadly drug. Yet marijuana is about as addictive as caffeine and has never killed anyone through overdose. To put marijuana in the same class with heroin is absurd. Even children know that. When minors find out they have been lied to about marijuana they will not believe the very real dangers that can be associated with the use of other drugs. This Big Lie is the basis for the current draconian penalties against marijuana and it is an appalling lie to tell children.

In New Jersey, it is the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs who is empowered to change the schedule of drugs.  I met with Tom Calcagni, former Director of Consumer Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, regarding rescheduling marijuana on 2/15/11, in Newark. He had the power but not the will to reschedule marijuana. I pointed out to him that it was logically inconsistent for the state to say marijuana was a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical uses while at the same time enumerating the medical uses for marijuana.   (See my attached letter to Mr. Calcagni.) Director Calcagni was very interested and promised to have subsequent meetings with me, but after I left his office, all the subsequent meetings were cancelled and he denied my request to reschedule marijuana in New Jersey.

Simply rescheduling marijuana to a different level of controlled substance (Schedules II – V) is not enough. If marijuana is to be legal for any adult to purchase in New Jersey, which Governor Murphy hopes to accomplish as quickly as possible, marijuana should not be considered a controlled dangerous substance at all. Marijuana should be descheduled in New Jersey.

Removing marijuana entirely from the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, N.J.S.A. 24:21-2, is an important measure in legalizing marijuana in the state. 

Even after descheduling, the State can still pass laws against the misuse of marijuana, just like we have laws against the misuse of alcohol, which is not a controlled substance, either. 

Descheduling marijuana in NJ will encourage other states to do likewise, and it will put pressure on the federal government to change its absurd, almost 50-year-old opinion that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, an opinion that is purely political and completely unsupported by science. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.



References:

Federal drug law, 21 U.S.C. § 903, gives the states the authority to determine accepted medical use. See, Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243, 269-270 (2006):  
“Congress regulates medical practice insofar as it bars doctors from using their prescription-writing powers as a means to engage in illicit drug dealing and trafficking as conventionally understood. Beyond this, however, the statute manifests no intent to regulate the practice of medicine generally. Federalism… (allows) the States ‘great latitude under their police powers to legislate as to the protection of the lives, limbs, health, comfort, and quiet of all persons.’” Medtronic, Inc. v. Lohr, 518 U.S. 470, 475, 116 S. Ct. 2240, 135 L. Ed. 2d 700 (1996) (quoting Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Massachusetts, 471 U.S. 724, 756, 105 S. Ct. 2380, 85 L. Ed. 2d 728 (1985)).

“Marijuana, Medicine & the Law, Volume I & Volume II,” R.C. Randall, editor, Galen Press, Washington, D.C., 1988.

Congressional Research Service Report for Congress
Medical Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies, 
Mark Eddy, Specialist in Social Policy, April 2, 2010.

Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse:
Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding  
(The Shafer Commission Report)
Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March 1972

United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration
In The Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Docket No. 86-22
Opinion and recommended Ruling, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision of
Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, September 6, 1988

29 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC
Laws, Fees, and Possession Limits

Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program

State of New Jersey Department of Health, Medicinal Marijuana Program
New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act

Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids:
A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, Fifth Edition, 4/10/2012
Paul Armentano, Deputy Director, NORML Foundation, Washington, DC

Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999)
Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr., Editors; Institute of Medicine
Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health
National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine

Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
Volume 30, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 515–527

Physical, Mental, and Moral Effects of Marijuana: The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), annual marijuana arrests in the U.S. went from 31,000 in 1966 to 188,000 in 1970:

Professor Lyle Craker, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, unsuccessful 10-year struggle to grow a sufficient supply of marijuana to conduct large scale clinical trials:

Enc.: January 6, 2011 letter to:
Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director, Division of Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 45027, Newark, NJ 07101
Re: Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act effectively rescheduled marijuana in New Jersey