Wednesday, January 9, 2019

CMMNJ Year End Report 2018

Year End Report 2018

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 2018, CMMNJ held twelve 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 over 1000 supporters each month and posted the agendas on Facebook, Twitter and on the CMMNJ blog

CMMNJ’s public meetings for 2019 will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. (Mercer County) Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike
Lawrenceville, NJ, 08648.  All are welcome at these meetings and there is never a charge to attend. Meeting at the library does not imply Mercer County’s endorsement of our issue.

New Jersey Highlights of 2018
  • Marijuana legalization advanced through New Jersey legislative committees. 
  • Medical Marijuana Program doubles in size in first year of Murphy administration.
  • Marijuana reform progresses nationally and regionally.
  • Marijuana Rescheduling/Descheduling efforts continue.
  • CMMNJ publications, activities, finances and Board report.
Marijuana legalization advanced through New Jersey legislative committees 
At noon on Jan. 16, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy brought a new administration to Trenton that was much friendlier to marijuana reform than the previous administration.

NJ Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee hearings:
CMMNJ was invited to give oral and written testimony in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ at the Trenton Statehouse on March 5, 2018. Another hearing was conducted on 4/21/18 at Rowan U., Glassboro, and on 5/12/18, a follow up committee meeting was held on at Bergen County Community College, Paramus. CMMNJ Executive Director, Ken Wolski, RN said at the Trenton hearing:

“We do not need to ‘slow down’ our march towards social justice in New Jersey. We do not need to slow down our efforts to end the destructive, ineffective and counterproductive War on Marijuana. We need to speed these efforts up.” 

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.

New Jersey voters support, by a margin of 62% - 33% in the latest scientific poll, allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Voters also support 63% - 27% erasing criminal records for marijuana possession. CMMNJ expects only a modest marijuana use uptick of 3% with a new legalization law; 97% of current marijuana users will simply change vendors from illegal market to legal market. Teen use is down in the legal states.

Marijuana-related Bills in New Jersey’s 2018-2019 Legislative Session: 
January 2018 was the start of a new, 2-year legislative session in New Jersey.  All bills reintroduced in the legislature were given new bill numbers. There were a number of marijuana-related bills in the 2018-2019 Legislative Session. Information about these bills can be found on the web site of the New Jersey Legislature, or see CMMNJ Board member Jo Anne Zito’s comprehensive analysis of current legislation along with contact info for elected officials on her Facebook page.

In July, CMMNJ was wondering what will the NJ legalization bill would look like? S830/A1348/A3819; A3581; A1557; S2703; S2702 (combination) & medical marijuana expansion bills: S1955 (Jake Honig law) and several others. The hoped for vote coming in September on a NJ legalization bill never materialized. CMMNJ priorities included home cultivation, automatic expungement, industry diversity, and protection of out-of-state patients.

Then it was hoped that a NJ Senate vote was coming October 29th on legalization bill, S2703. The Scutari/Sweeney bill was in the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing. 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.) Hoboken, Newark & Jersey City mayors demand social equity in the marijuana legalization law. Opposition is strong and vocal, including law enforcement. The cannabis industry is lobbying for reform. The NJ State League of Municipalities urge mayors to request 5% tax added onto the already proposed taxes on the sale of legal marijuana.

A petition to legalize home cultivation in NJ and a legalization letter to NJ officials were distributed by CMMNJ. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) also distributed a petition: Marijuana Legalization Must be Fair and Equitable in New Jersey.

Marijuana legalization was delayed in NJ again, with no action on October 29th. Details of S2703 were still being discussed: taxation, home cultivation; expungement; industry diversity; and rebuilding inner cities devastated by the war on marijuana. Legal marijuana in New Jersey was delayed to at least 2019, despite the fact that polls showed 58% in NJ & nationally, 66% OK legal pot in America.

On November 26 2018, S2703/A4497, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act which legalizes personal use cannabis for adults, creates the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to regulate personal use and medical cannabis, and provides expungement relief for certain past marijuana offenses, passed the joint appropriations committees from the Senate and Assembly. The committees voted 7-4 and 7-2, respectively, to advance the adult use bill to full Senate and Assembly votes. However, the hoped-for 12/17 vote on the floor of both houses did not occur. Nevertheless, this legislative progress stimulated interest in legalization in Pennsylvania and New York.

So, Governor Murphy’s plans to legalize marijuana in 2018 fell short. Legal, adult use of marijuana did not happen in New Jersey in 2018. Apparently, too many people wanted too many things out of the bill. CMMNJ’s goals were:

  • Legalization with a home cultivation provision, 
  • Expungement of prior non-violent marijuana records,
  • Release of currently incarcerated non-violent marijuana inmates,  
  • Descheduling of marijuana from its Schedule I status in New Jersey, 
  • Help to inner city communities devastated by the War on Marijuana,
  • Aid for women, minorities and veterans in the new marijuana industry,
  • No interference with the current rights of medical marijuana patients,
  • Reasonable public use of marijuana, and,
  • Ending the tax on medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, NJ cops are the toughest in the nation for pot arrests:
Marijuana possession is 10.6 percent of all arrests. New Jersey's attorney general briefly adjourned all marijuana cases in municipal courts until September. Then, the A.G. said prosecutors may exercise discretion and choose not to prosecute some marijuana cases.

Medical Marijuana Program eases access and doubles in size in the first year of the Murphy administration
New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP):
The sixth anniversary of legal sales of marijuana in New Jersey was on 12-6-18.  The eighth anniversary of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act becoming law was on 1-18-18. Six Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) are currently open and dispensing medical marijuana to qualified patients. Harmony ATC opened 6/18/18 in Secaucus, NJ.

Governor Phil Murphy, in his first week in office, signed Executive Order #6 to expand and improve access to the Medicinal Marijuana Program at a Press Conference in Trenton on 1/23/18, which CMMNJ attended. The DOH and the Board of Medical Examiners (BME) were given 60 days to come up with new rules.

CMMNJ met with DOH Deputy Commissioner Jackie Cornell on 2/28/18 as part of Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6 to expand and improve access to the MMP. CMMNJ also met with DOH Assistant Commissioner Jeff Brown. CMMNJ urged extensive revisions to the MMP. "It was a program designed to keep people out of it," said Ken Wolski, in "It’s a program that’s not meeting the needs of the patients.” CMMNJ presented its “Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations for the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program.”

CMMNJ also attended Gov. Murphy’s Press Conference on 3/27/18 for the E.O. #6 Report.
CMMNJ was very happy with the recommendations to expand qualifying conditions for marijuana therapy, end the physician registry, cut fees, etc. "I'm very pleased the governor has taken such a strong stand to expand the program," Ken Wolski said in

NJ DOH MMP adds qualifying conditions for marijuana therapy.
The New Jersey Department of Health accepted Petitions to add qualifying conditions to the state’s MMP between 8-1-16 and 8-31-16. A total of 45 Petitions were accepted by the NJ DOH for consideration by a panel of health care professionals--five physicians, two pharmacists and one RN, who were appointed by the DOH. The DOH published links to each Petition. The Medicinal Marijuana Program Review Panel gave final approval to 43 petitions to add conditions (chronic pain, anxiety, migraines, and Tourette’s syndrome) to the MMP on 10/25/17. Then, the DOH commissioner had 180 days to act. These conditions were finally added on 3/17/28.

CMMNJ testified at the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on 3/22/18 in support of medical marijuana Substitute bill A3437.

CMMNJ testified at the 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 recommendations.

On November 26, 2018, the Senate Health Committee heard testimony on expansions to the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The bill, S10/2426/A10/A3470/A3473 revises requirements to authorize and access medical cannabis, establishes institutional caregivers, revises permit requirements for Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs), and establishes additional legal protections for patients and caregivers. The Health Committee vote: Yes-7 No-1 Not Voting 1; Senate Budget Committee vote: Yes-12 No-1; Assembly: Yes-10 No-0.

Six New Dispensaries will Expand Access to Medicinal Marijuana in New Jersey.
Applications were due 8/31/18. Applicants sought community support for proposed ATC sites in Trenton, Brick, Vineland, Clayton, etc. Applicants chosen to proceed in the permitting process were announced in December. The DOH selected 6 applicants to apply for permits to grow medical marijuana and open ATCs in December 2018. This will double the number of ATCs in the state. The selected applicants are:

  • NETA NJ, LLC – Phillipsburg
  • GTI New Jersey, LLC – Paterson
  • Verano NJ LLC – Elizabeth (Dispensary), Rahway (Cultivation Site)
  • Justice Grown – Ewing
  • MPX New Jersey – Atlantic City (Dispensary), Galloway (Cultivation)
  • Columbia Care New Jersey – Vineland

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. The medical marijuana patient population more than doubled in 2018 to almost 40,000 patients, and the physician registry expanded to around 800 physicians, though not all are taking new patients. With the expanding patient population came growing pains. Patients reported ATCs running out of certain strains, ATCs like Greenleaf arbitrarily limiting purchases to ¼ ounce/day, and ATCs running out of premium bud and offering only shake instead.

There was no response from the BME to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order #6. CMMNJ sent an email to BME 7/3/18, but they have yet to give the courtesy of a reply.

NJ DOH MMP proposed regulations from the Division of Medicinal Marijuana were filed on May 24, 2018. CMMNJ submitted written comments on 8/17/18. CMMNJ awaits further action.

A Federal Court ruled that an Employer Need Not Waive Drug Test for Medical Marijuana User

For an overview of medical marijuana in NJ, see A beginner's guide to the process.

With CMMNJ’s encouragement, advocates attended and spoke up at local council meetings and other civic meetings throughout the state in support of marijuana reform. Jim Miller went to the Toms River council and Lefty Grimes went to many communities.

Marijuana rescheduling in New Jersey
The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division heard oral arguments for marijuana rescheduling/descheduling in New Jersey on 11/29/16 in Trenton. Nearly a year later, in November 2017, the Appellate Court ruled that the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office erred when he said he lacked the authority to reclassify/reschedule/de-schedule marijuana. The Director must reconsider his decision in the “post-CUMMA era” the court said. New Jersey must recognize marijuana's medicinal value, the court insisted. The AG’s office considered an appeal of the decision to the NJ Supreme Court, but on 2/17/18 the Division announced that it will not further pursue its appeal. The Division recognizes that it has the authority to reevaluate how marijuana is classified under state law.

Accordingly, rescheduling/descheduling hearings were held by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General on 4/19/18 in Newark and on 4/24/18 in Trenton. For CMMNJ testimony, click the links. We still await summaries or other results of these hearings. CMMNJ called the NJ OAG re: results of marijuana rescheduling hearings, but there was no reply from the OAG.

At the March 2018 CMMNJ meeting, a letter was read from Steven Kadonsky #807236B, whose lawsuit prompted the rescheduling/descheduling hearings. Mr. Kadonsky is an inmate serving a life sentence at New Jersey State Prison/Trenton for a non-violent marijuana offense. He has been incarcerated at the prison for 24 years. Mr. Kadonsky’s contact information is:
Steven Kadonsky
807236B, 2 Right
New Jersey State Prison
P.O. Box 861, Trenton, NJ 08625

Marijuana reform progresses nationally, regionally and internationally
It has been said that marijuana won the 2018 midterm elections! In November 2018, Michigan voted to legalize marijuana; Utah and Missouri OK’d medical marijuana; and pot-friendly governors were elected in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, California, Colorado and Maine! Democrats took control of the House and vowed to stop blocking marijuana reform bills.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memo on 1/4/18, removing some protection for state marijuana laws, but Sessions was replaced as Attorney General in November.

The NJ Assembly passed Resolution 183 which told Congress to stop federal bank regulators from punishing banks that serve marijuana businesses.

California rolled out legal marijuana 1/1/18.

Medical marijuana became available for purchase in Pennsylvania on Feb. 15, 2018.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed marijuana legalization.

Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Nevada recognize any out-of-state medical marijuana ID card. NJ must protect all out-of-state patients, and seek reciprocity with other states.

A federal bill to resolve the conflict between state and federal medical marijuana laws is the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act (CARERS Act). Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), teamed up for S. 683, which now has a mix of 19 cosponsors. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee but has not yet come up for a vote.   The identical House version H.R. 1538, introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN9) has 43 evenly-bipartisan cosponsors, but also has yet to receive a vote.

Congressional co-sponsors were also sought for Sen. Cory Booker’s federal bill the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (S1689) which will deschedule marijuana federally. Advocates were encouraged to take action via the Capwiz from DPA and NORML.

National Nursing Standards Legitimize Cannabis NursingNurses Again Outpace Other Professions for Honesty, Ethics.

Gov. Wolf says it’s time for Pennsylvania to ‘take a serious look’ at legalizing recreational marijuana.

It's Time To Remove Cannabis From The Federal Drug Schedules

Deschedule Marijuana, Says Coalition Involving AARP, Labor Unions And NAACP

Canada just legalized pot.

Mexican Supreme Court strikes down marijuana prohibition!

A hemp bill was signed into law by Gov. Murphy. The NJ Dept. of Agriculture will start a pilot program. The federal Farm Bill also allows for hemp cultivation nationally.

Stockton University now lets students minor in marijuana.

Statehouse Podcasts/Final 2018 Statehouse Podcast:
CMMNJ sponsored and participated in a series of Statehouse demonstrations and Podcasts from April through November, going back to 2014.  The final 2018 Statehouse Podcast concluded with Thanksgiving Day lunch/clothing giveaway outside the Annex. 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.

Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion Update: 
Ed Forchion’s restaurant, the "Joint" and his church, the "Liberty Bell Temple," both located across the street from Trenton’s City Hall, were visited by law enforcement officers (LEOs) on 3-5-16. This 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.  Mr. Forchion was subsequently arrested again and charged with harassing a Trenton police officer. Mr. Forchion was arrested on 3/3/17 on witness tampering charges and held without bail. He remained incarcerated over a year though he had not been found guilty of any charges. At trial on the witness tampering charge, he was found not guilty of the more serious charge, but the jury was hung on the less serious charge. Incarcerated without bail awaiting retrial, Mr. Forchion considered himself a political prisoner, who is being harassed because of his outspoken advocacy for marijuana reform. Mr. Forchion was finally freed in retrial in 2018 after spending over one year in jail! His release was followed by a Victory Party/Fundraising Party at the “Joint” in Trenton on 8/5/18. Mr. Forchion uses marijuana medicinally to control the pain associated with tumors that he has on the bones in his legs. He is also a Rastafarian who uses marijuana as a part of his sincere religious beliefs.
Ed Forchion spoke at the Legislative Black Caucus meeting.

2018 CMMNJ Publications
CMMNJ Monthly Agendas and Minutes also contain links to published reports by and about CMMNJ Board members and friends.  For the 2018 CMMNJ Agendas and Minutes, see:

CMMNJ Meeting Agenda for December 11, 2018 & November Minutes

November 2018:
Proposed resolution in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in NJ:

CMMNJ November 13, 2018 Meeting Agenda and October Minutes

CMMNJ Meeting Agenda for October 9, 2018 and September Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for September 11, 2018 and August Minutes

August 2018:
CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for August 14, 2018 and July Minutes

CMMNJ’s 8/19/18 letter-to-the-editor:  Legal marijuana would make NJ healthier, safer

Reprint: 2002 New Jersey State Nurses Association Resolution Concerning Therapeutic Marijuana:

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

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for July 10, 2018 and June Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for June 12, 2018 and May Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for May 8, 2018 and April Minutes

April 2018:
CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for April 10, 2018 and March Minutes

POT Comes to New Jersey—May 10 – 12, Jersey City

Deschedule Marijuana Testimony to the Office of The Attorney General, April 24, 2018

420 Trenton, NJ March and Rally

New Jersey Assembly Health Committee Testimony Re: Substitute 3437

CMMNJ’s Regulatory and Legislative Recommendations

March 2018:
CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for March 13, 2018 and February Minutes

New Jersey Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee Legislative Testimony Supporting Marijuana Reform 3/5/18

February 2018:
CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for February 13, 2018 and January Minutes

National POT Conference Coming to New Jersey in May

January 2018:
CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for January 9, 2018 and December 2017 Minutes

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Patients for Home Cultivation

CMMNJ Year End Report 2017

CMMNJ members participated in or attended the following events in 2018:
Press Conference at the Statehouse in Trenton on 1/9/18 in support of home cultivation.
CMMNJ joined MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce early in 2018.
Trenton Cannabis Community meeting on 2/7/18 at Artworks in Trenton; discussion involved marijuana reform & breaking the stigma, voter registration & other local activity, getting patients into the medical program, preparing for the new industry.
The 15th anniversary of CMMNJ’s first public event at the White Dog CafĂ© was on 3/10/18.
Leo Bridgewater attended the Black Caucus meeting in Jersey City where opponents of legalization were invited; other meetings were held 3/27 in Elizabeth & 4/24 in Atlantic City.
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.
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.
June 7th was the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s death in 2003. Memorial Statehouse podcast, 6/7/18. (May 24-25 was the 25th anniversary of Jim Miller pushing his wife, Cheryl’s wheelchair across the state of New Jersey to raise awareness for medical marijuana.)
Patients Out of Time, “Cannabis: Alleviates Pain, Treats Addiction” Jersey City, 5/10–12/18
ASA Unity Conference, “End Pain, Not Lives. Make Cannabis an Option,” Washington, D.C., 5/22-25/18.
Global Marijuana March, 5/5/18 NYC, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware &.200 other cities.
Garden State Cannabis Consultants TV interview with Ken Wolski.
Trenton mayoral election, 6/12, won by Reed Gusciora, NJ’s champion of marijuana reform.
“Medical Marijuana in New Jersey” Mercer County Library, Ewing Branch, 7/18/18.
2018 Canna-Bash, Mill Hill Park, Trenton, September 8, 2018.
Leo Bridgewater at Women Grow–Flemington, Lone Eagle Brewery, 6/7/18.
Trenton Cannabis Meeting 6/6/18—radio interview with Jacque Pierre Howard.
Opioid Epidemic in NJ: Prevention and Harm Reduction, Douglass College 6/22/18.
Roots of Us LLC interviewed Ken Wolski 7/2/18.
The Grassroots Cannabis Forum, July 7th, Kennedy Park, Asbury Park.
Morristown Green Event, “Green on the Green,” 8/4/18, Morristown, NJ.
Women’s Cannabis Connection Picnic, last wknd in July, Cranbury.
Hemp Heals, July 28th.
Medical Marijuana: Implications for the Disability Community: 8/8/18 Hamilton, NJ.
NJ DOH meeting for prospective ATC owners in NJ, Trenton War Memorial, 8/9/18.
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.
Ignorance is No Excuse Tour goes to Hightstown.
Cannabis unleashed; NJ Alternative Medicine, Cherry Hill.
“Cannabis in your Community” MCCC Trenton 10/10/18 by Trenton Cannabis Community.
#StillWaiting videos.
Thanksgiving Day Statehouse podcast & food/clothing giveaway.
Brick Zoning Board hearing resumes 11/19/18.
Can CBD Help You? Woodbridge, NJ, 11/8,
CannaGather industry meeting, Trenton, NJ, 10/30/18.
Marijuana Town Halls, Plainfield, NJ, 10/17, Asbury Park, 10/24, Bloomfield, NJ 10/27, and Princeton 10/29.
Portuguese Drug Czar’s decriminalization talk, Asbury Park, NJ, 10/5/18, Help Not Handcuffs.
“Green on the Morristown Green” 10/20/18 was cancelled by the Morristown Green Trustees!
Everything About Medicinal Marijuana, 12/12, Lawrence Twp.

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

CMMNJ TV: “CMMNJ TV” began taping episodes at Princeton Community TV on 11/11/14 and continued throughout 2017, finally stopping in 2018.

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

  • volunteer administrators who moderate the many discussions on Facebook’s Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ; 
  • activists who spoke out at community meetings to dispel marijuana stigmas; and,
  • activists who contacted the media and elected officials for marijuana reform.

CMMNJ 2018 Board Update
Formal meetings of the CMMNJ Board of Directors were held on January 5, July 25, and November 24, 2018. Michael Brennan was voted onto the CMMNJ Board at the November meeting. At the close of 2018, 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, Jo Anne Zito and Philippe Dume and Michael Brennan.

CMMNJ’s Honorary Board Member is Allan Marain, Esq.

Treasury Report
A detailed treasury report was forwarded to CMMNJ Board members.  In summary, in 2018 CMMNJ had expenditures of $4,627 and income of $5,562.  CMMNJ finished the year with a checking account balance of $4,924 and a PayPal account balance of $2,668 for a grand total of $7592.

CMMNJ still has almost 50,000 all hemp wristbands and necklaces that were donated to our organization. The multicolored bands were made in Romania. The suggested price is $1 apiece.  Wholesale prices are available.

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 is especially grateful to those who contributed anonymously through Network for Good, whose donations totaled $1,790 in 2018. Ken's September 2018 Birthday Facebook Fundraiser for CMMNJ raised $425.

CMMNJ’s 2019 Recommendations

  • Continue to build support for legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.
  • Implement a timely legalization program that brings affordable, high quality marijuana to New Jersey adults in an appropriately regulated fashion.
  • CMMNJ renews its annual call for national clinical trials of marijuana. 
  • Deschedule marijuana, both in New Jersey and nationally. 
  • Continue to expand New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program by adding qualifying conditions and allowing home cultivation. 
  • Attend upcoming marijuana-related educational conferences.

Schedule of CMMNJ 2019 meetings  
CMMNJ’s free, public meetings will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month in 2019 from 7 - 9 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Branch of the Mercer County Library, Room # 2 or #3. (Meeting at the library does not imply the county’s endorsement of our issue.)

Follow CMMNJ on Facebook at,
Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ
Coalition for Medical Marijuana - New Jersey

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618 
(609) 394-2137
January 4, 2019

Below is Paul Armentano’s guest column submission to the Asbury Park Press in response to the March 8, 2018 editorial (“NJ marijuana legalization: Take a sober look at legal weed”):

When It Comes To Legalizing Cannabis — You Have Questions, We Have Answers

by Paul Armentano

Editors pose several valid questions with regard to adult use marijuana regulation and its effects on public safety (“NJ marijuana legalization: Take a sober look at legal weed,” March 8). Specifically, they inquire about the impact of these regulations on teen use, traffic safety, and economic revenue. Fortunately, we have ample data from other jurisdictions that provide answers to these questions.


Writing in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Boston University scientists conclude, "We can state with some confidence that, even in states that have enacted marijuana liberalization policies, marijuana use among adolescents is not currently increasing. In fact, there is rather compelling evidence that adolescent marijuana use has steadily declined.” Specifically, in Colorado, "For adults and adolescents, past-month marijuana use has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users. Based on the most comprehensive data available, past month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average.” So concluded the Colorado Department of Public Health in 2017. According to the Oregon Health Authority, "Recent trends in youth use have been stable.” In Washington, according to data released last year by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among young people post-legalization. These declines were most pronounced among 8th and 10th graders. Researchers concluded: "We found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. ... [and] we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.”


Data from states that have liberalized marijuana’s legal status show no uptick in motor vehicle crashes. Writing in the August 2017 edition of The American Journal of Public Health, University of Texas researchers compared traffic crash data in the three years prior to the enactment of adult use legalization in Colorado and Washington versus data trends in the three years immediately following legalization. “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” they concluded. They further reported, “[W]e also found no association between recreational marijuana legalization and total crash rates when analyzing available state-reported non-fatal crash statistics.”

Investigators also compared traffic safety trends in Colorado and Washington versus eight control states that had not altered their marijuana laws. They concluded, “[C]hanges in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without creational marijuana legalization.”


Adults use regulatory schemes are associated with increased tax revenue and job creation. A 2017 state by state analysis by content provider identified 149,304 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis sector. According to data compiled by, the total number of industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017. Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70% growth). In Colorado, cannabis-specific taxes and fees have yielded $506,143,635 in state revenue since January 1, 2014 — a total that well exceeds initial projections. Cannabis sales in Washington state continue to grow at a steady rate, with total 2017 sales topping $1.1 billion at the end of September. In October, Nevada's recreational marijuana industry hit a new high, selling more than $37.9 million that month alone. The state has earned nearly $20 million in marijuana tax revenue since the adult-use market launched in July, according to Forbes Magazine.

Real world experience from other states indicate that cannabis use and sales can be regulated in a manner that increase revenue while also promoting social justice and public safety. State lawmakers should welcome the opportunity to bring necessary and long overdue controls to the marijuana market. A pragmatic framework regulating adult use, but that continues to restrict marijuana use and access by young people, best reduces the risks associated with the plant's misuse. By contrast, advocating for the marijuana’s continued criminalization only compounds them.


Paul Armentano
NORML Deputy Director

For those interested in the source materials/citations for these studies and related papers, these fact-sheets address these and related issues in further details:

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