Monday, January 13, 2020

CMMNJ Year End Report 2019

Year End Report 2019
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 2019, CMMNJ held eleven free public meetings at the Lawrence Township Library in Mercer County.  (The February 2019 meeting was canceled due to snow.) 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 2020 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 2019:

·         Marijuana legalization for adults failed to progress through the New Jersey legislature in 2019 despite the support of the governor, the senate president and the assembly speaker, as well as a majority of voters in the state;
·         In November 2019 it was finally decided that the adult use of marijuana will be voted on as a ballot question in November 2020;
·         The Medical Marijuana Program continues to expand as Governor Murphy signed the Jake Honig law in July 2019;
·         Marijuana reform progresses nationally and regionally;
·         CMMNJ continues to await action from the NJ OAG on re/descheduling hearings conducted in the spring of 2018;
·         CMMNJ publications, activities, finances and Board report.

Marijuana legalization advanced:

In 2014, CMMNJ’s Board of Directors endorsed legalization of marijuana. The Board recognized legalization as the most efficient and effective way to get the therapeutic effects of marijuana to the vast number of patients who can benefit from this plant. Legalization of marijuana is also an important step in undoing the harms to our society that are caused by our current policy of drug prohibition.

In January 2018, Governor Phil Murphy brought a new administration to Trenton that was much friendlier to marijuana reform than the previous administration. However, the state’s adult use marijuana reform continued to be delayed throughout the year.  The primary legalization bill, S2703/A4497,  the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act” which legalizes personal use cannabis for adults passed legislative committees 11/26/18 and on 3/18/19 (see testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee & Assembly Appropriations Committee) but the hoped for floor vote did not take place on March 25. The Senate failed to get enough votes to guarantee passage. So the marijuana legalization bill was delayed. Key NJ Senators say they got more calls opposing this bill than supporting it! Supporters were encouraged to reach out to organizations and tell them to tell their members to support this bill. However, some advocates opposed the bill because it did not include home cultivation or sufficient social justice provisions. In-fighting among Democrats that had nothing to do with marijuana played a role in the failure to pass the adult use bill. Republicans in the Legislature uniformly opposed the bill.

Legalization discussions continued around NJ: Hackensack, Hoboken, Barnegat, Newark, Brick, E. Brunswick,  Rutgers U. A Monmouth University poll in February 2019 showed 62% of NJ adults favor legalization.

In September, it was hoped that the NJ marijuana legalization bill (S2703), would get a legislative floor vote in the lame duck session (early Nov. to early Jan., 2020.) CMMNJ showed support for this legislation and asked for a home cultivation bill for patients to be introduced in 2020. Advocates were encouraged to send an email to their legislators and sign the NJUMR letter!  CMMNJ produced a video in support of S2703, and sent out a Press Release, but to no avail. Two-thirds of Americans favor legalizing marijuana according to Gallup.

But the NJ legislators said they would not vote on the marijuana legalization bill, (S2703), in 2019, shortly after a State House Press Conference for the adult use bill on 11/18/19. CMMNJ supported this legislation and the efforts to force a vote continued. Now, legalization will be a ballot question in Nov. 2020. Even if the ballot question passes, the issue will return to the legislature for final bill wording and then to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for regulations.

Gov. Murphy signed A5322 to allow hemp farming in NJ after registration with the Dept. of Agriculture.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) closed their HQ in Trenton after 17 years.

New Jersey (NJ) Department of Health (DOH) Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP):

The seventh anniversary of legal sales of marijuana in New Jersey was on 12-6-19. The ninth anniversary of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act becoming law was on 1-18-19.

Seven Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) are currently open and dispensing medical marijuana to over 60,000 qualified patients: Greenleaf Compassion Center of Montclair, Harmony Dispensary of Secaucus, Compassionate Care Foundation of Egg Harbor and Garden State Dispensary of Woodbridge and Union Township, Curaleaf of NJ in Bellmawr (Camden Co.) and Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center of Cranbury. One additional ATC opened in 2019—RISE Dispensary (GTI New Jersey), in Paterson, Passaic County, NJ. The new ATC is scheduling appointments to dispense medicinal marijuana to patients and/or their caregivers, and accepting walk-ins. A patient can change their ATC whenever they wish but can only be registered with one ATC at a time.

NJ DOH OK’d 6 applications for ATCs on 12/17/18 in Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Ewing, Paterson, Phillipsburg & Vineland. Applicants must comply with background checks and state and local regulations. Only RISE in Paterson has opened so far. The DOH selected 6 applicants:

  • 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
NJ DOH published MMP Biennial Report 4/1/19. Recommendations therein were to: Raise the 2 ounce per month limit; Lower prices by expanding supply, access and competition; Increase cultivation sites to 24, & add 50 dispensary sites. CMMNJ Board members interviewed. MMP has over 40,000 patients. Opioid Use Disorder was approved for marijuana therapy in conjunction with Medication Assisted Treatment.

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. The DOH adopted new rules effective 5/20/19, making it easier to add qualifying conditions.

By June 2019, the MMP expanded to 47,500 patients, 950 doctors.

The medical marijuana expansion act, S10/2426, was stalled, after sailing through three legislative committees on November 26, 2018. This bill was tied to the legalization bill, though there was really no reason that it could not advance on its own. Governor Murphy signed the medical marijuana expansion act, S20/A20 into law on 7/2/19, effective immediately. It included
  • Patients may visit doctors only once a year; 
  • there is an increase in allowable limits to 3 ounces/month for all, and unlimited amounts for hospice patients
  • Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) and Physicians’ Assistants (PA’s) will be permitted to recommend marijuana; 
  • edibles, tinctures, and sublinguals are now permitted for adults as well as minors
  • various patient protections were included for workplace, housing, child care, etc.
  • the state sales tax will be eliminated in 2022; 
  • institutional caregivers will be able to procure medical marijuana for patients in health care facilities
  • educational programs will be developed
  • research will be conducted
  • out-of-state ID cards will be honored, etc. 
Home cultivation is still not considered for NJ patients, however. CMMNJ wants 30-second video testimony on why patient/caregiver home cultivation and co-ops are necessary and what being legal means to you. Send to #CMMNJ: Ken was interviewed on 101.5 FM about ATC prices and advocated for home cultivation for patients.  CMMNJ participated in a rally in Trenton for home cultivation on 11/25/19.

A number of patients complain physicians refuse to discuss cannabis with their patients. CMMNJ requested documentation of these refusals—who, what, when, where, and why.

Jim Miller started a campaign including a petition to end the sales tax on medical marijuana immediately. 

DOH issued an RFA for 108 new ATCs in NJ, including 24 for cultivation, 30 for manufacturing & 54 for dispensaries. Applications were due August 15, 2019. DOH changed and reissued the RFA for 24 new ATCs in NJ on 7/1/19, including up to 8 in the north, 8 in central NJ, 7 in the south, and 1 “at-large”; these include 5 for cultivation, 15 dispensaries, and 4 vertically integrated permits. Application forms were posted July 15; due on 8/21 (Dispensary) and 8/22 (Cultivation & Vertically Integrated). Pre-Application Webinar was held on 8/2/19. Applicants sought community support for proposed ATC sites in Trenton, Brick, Vineland, Clayton, etc.

NJ’s first death associated with vaping was noted. The NJ DOH MMP said there were no reports of serious lung illness associated with products sold in NJ ATCs.  The problem should spur legislators to make vaping safer through regulations, not bans, just as we made cars safer in response to traffic deaths.

The Superior Court Appellate Division ruled that Medical Marijuana users may not be Discriminated Against In New Jersey


N.J. Supreme Court took the case of a funeral director fired for using medical marijuana.

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 and the Ignorance is No Excuse tour 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 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 4/19/18, Newark & 4/24/18 Trenton, but there was no reply from the OAG. The OAG is reportedly still working on it.

Marijuana reform progresses nationally, regionally and internationally:
The “Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States” (CARERS) Act & the “Marijuana Justice Act” were re-introduced in the 116th Congress. New Congressional Dems plan to hold House hearings.
Illinois was the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults. The legislature sent the bill to governor.

Drug Enforcement Administration’s announcement: it will begin processing applications to cultivate marijuana for research. Reg proposal first. Hemp is no longer a controlled substance. petition for Nobel Prize for Raphael Mechoulam supported.
House passes historic SAFE Act that would allow cannabis businesses to open bank accounts

Feds continue to prohibit the Department of Justice from using its resources to prosecute individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. However, President Trump said, in a signing statement, that he still could enforce federal laws.

House passed the MORE Act out of committee! Federal marijuana reform progress.

Jahan Marcu’s “Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine” launch 11/15/19, & ABC7 report.

June 7th was the anniversary of Cheryl Miller’s death in 2003.

Statehouse Podcasts:

CMMNJ participated in a series of Statehouse Podcasts going back to 2014.  The final 2019 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 and home cultivation.

 2019 CMMNJ Publications:

CMMNJ Monthly Agendas and Minutes also contain links to published reports by and about CMMNJ Board members and friends.  For the CMMNJ Agendas and Minutes, see the CMMNJ blog. May 16, 2019 was the 10th anniversary of the CMMNJ blog.

Trentonian LTE: Neese's inaccuracies on marijuana

CMMNJ Meeting Agenda for December 10, 2019 & November Minutes

CMMNJ Video Supports Adult Use Cannabis Bill

CMMNJ November 12, 2019 Meeting Agenda and October Minutes

CMMNJ Meeting Agenda for October 8, 2019 and September Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for September 10, 2019 and August Minutes

Safety of NJ ATC Vape Carts

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for August 13, 2019 and July Minutes

Sen. Sweeney: we support legalization; will you support home cultivation?

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for July 9, 2019 and June Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for June 11, 2019 and May Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for May 14, 2019 and April Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for April 9, 2019 and March Minutes

LEGALIZE IT, NJ! State House Annex Rally, 4/20, noon – 2 pm

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for March 12, 2019 & January Minutes

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for February 12, 2019 (Meeting canceled)

CMMNJ Public Meeting Agenda for January 8, 201 and December 2018 Minutes

CMMNJ Year End Report 20187

Board member Jo Anne Zito’s Facebook publications:

Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation Follow-up with Senate President Sweeney

ATTENTION: NJ Cannabis Activism

Cannabis Legalization for Justice

No Grow

S10/A10 Testimony

NJ Cannabis News 3/20/19 ~ Legislature Quotes

Pass S2703/A4497, S10/A10, & S3205/A4498

Assembly Judiciary Hearing ~ Quijano Expungement 6/4/18
Sweeney Protest Follow-up

Die-in for Medical Cannabis Home Grow Access & Opioid Use Crisis

Cannabis Law Reform Yeas & Naes with corresponding legislative districts

Home Grow Now

Home Grow States

CMMNJ members took part in the following events in 2019:

Patients Out of Time (POT) conference, Tampa, FL, 4/11-4/13/19.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Unity Conference, Washington, D.C., 3/18- 3/20/19.

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey,(4 CEUs for RNs) 2/2/19, 8am – 12 pm, Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, Plainsboro, NJ.

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey,” (4 CEUs for RNs) presentation is also available at Hackensack UMC at Pascack Valley on 2/16/19, 8am – 12 pm.

Community Cannabis Forum, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Pleasantville, NJ, 4/4/19, 7 – 9 pm.

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey,” Hackensack UMC, Pascack Valley 2/16/19.

5th Annual CANNAEAST Conference March 12-13, 2019 New York, NY.
Trenton Cannabis Community event, Trenton, NJ Library, 4/3/19.
Jersey Cannabis Network April 15, Asbury Park, Porta Asbury Park.
Pennington Day, Pennington, NJ 5/18/19.
Moorestown Day, Main St., Moorestown, NJ, 6/1/19.

Smoke-In for Patient Home Grow @ Sen. Sweeney's, W. Deptford, 4/4/19.

Die-in for Medical Cannabis Home Grow & OUD; 4/18/19, Trenton State House.

Trenton State House Podcast, last Thursday of each month, noon.
Cannabis in the Community, Trenton Main Library, 5/8/19.
“Up in Smoke:  Legalized Marijuana’s Impact on Mental Health, Social Justice and Substance Use Recovery in NJ,” NJ Psychiatric Rehabilitation Assn., Forsgate CC, Monroe, 5/23.
Jersey Gay Pride Festival, Asbury Park, 6/2/19.
Ethics Seminar, Inspira Health Network, Centerton (NJ) Country Club, 10/17/19. 
NORML Advocacy Day, Trenton State House, 6/10/19.
Shore Grow Hydro, Patient Aid fundraiser for CMMNJ, 6/22/19, Ocean Twp., NJ.
Medical Marijuana & Senior Citizens, Princeton Senior Resource Center, July 15.
“The Grassroots Cannabis Forum” Kennedy Park, Asbury Park, 7/6/19.
State of marijuana in the state of New Jersey. NJ Spotlight Roundtable 6/21/19.
Human marijuana bong sings pro-medical pot songs, at various council meetings in NJ.
NORML Conference, Washington, D.C. September 8 -10, 2019.
Cannabis Career Fair, Stockton University Student Center, 9/13/19.

NJTV News: Cannabis Country: Balancing legalization, etc., 9/4.

CAPITAL CITY AREA BLACK CAUCUS: "The Color of Cannabis: Challenges, Choices and Opportunities," MCCC-James Kerney Campus, Trenton, Sept. 11.
American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), Cannabis Care 2019 Conference, New Orleans, LA, 12/4-12/6/2019.
Garden State NORML Rally and Lobby Day, State House, Trenton, 9/23/19.
“Medical marijuana’s impact on people living with HIV,” "Paterson-Passaic-Bergen County HIV Health Services Planning Council", Paterson, NJ, Oct. 1.
NJ Marijuana Update,” Trenton YMCA, 11/9/19.
“Medical Marijuana & the Elderly,” Acorn Glen, Princeton, NJ, 11/12/19.
Black Cannabis Mixer, Black Cannabis, Coopers Riverview, 10/20/19.
Jim Miller did a series of solo demonstrations for home cultivation in front of the governor’s office.

“We All Die, And Marijuana Improves The Quality Of Life Of The Dying Like No Other Drug” Interview With Activist and Medical Marijuana Patient Ken Wolski:

#JusticeforJawara: Bergen County is hoping to avoid civil litigation over a 2017 jail attack that left Jawara McIntosh with severe brain injuries.
Marijuana reform in Delaware, Repeal Day Rally & Soiree, Wilmington, Dec. 7. (Zoe Patchell from the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network gave an update on marijuana reform events in Delaware via phone during the CMMNJ November public meeting. They celebrated Dec. 7 as the 86th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition in the U.S.)
Rutgers Cannabis Symposium, Somerset, NJ, 12/18/19.
Thanksgiving Food & Clothing Giveaway, Trenton State House, 11/28/19.
“#94 & NO MORE,” NJUMR State House Press Conference, Trenton, 11/18/19.
Rally for Home Cultivation, War Memorial, Trenton, 11/25/19.

The 16th anniversary of CMMNJ’s first public event at the White Dog CafĂ© was on 3/10/19.

Web site update: 

Amanda is working with Nick & Mike to update our site.

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;
  • activists who contacted the media and elected officials for marijuana reform;
  • special “Thank you” to all who contributed food, clothing and cash to the CMMNJ & Sativa Cross Thanksgiving Food & Clothing Giveaway at the Trenton State House; and,
  • CMMNJ mourned the untimely death of Terry Harris with a moment of silence at the November public meeting.

CMMNJ 2019 Board Update:

Vanessa Waltz resigned from the CMMNJ Board in 2019. We are grateful for all that she contributed to medical marijuana in New Jersey.
At the Board Meeting on 4/2/19, CMMNJ welcomed Gaetano Lardieri onto our Board of Directors. Guy showed his “project manager” skills by coordinating this year’s video project.
Six CMMNJ Board members made The Insider 100: Cannabis Power List. Congratulations to Amanda, Guy, Jim, Jo Anne, Peter & Ken!
Ken won “Community Recognition” from the Capital City Area Black Caucus on 11/9/19 for, “Your Commitment to Persons of Color & Minority Participation in NJ’s Cannabis Community.” 
Ken was also given a plaque by the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) at their conference in New Orleans in December, recognizing him as a “Founding Member, Cannabis Pioneer, and Past BOD” of the ACNA.
Frequent Board discussions were conducted by group emails as opposed to formal Board meetings during 2019.
At the close of 2019, 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; 
  • Larry Vargo;
  • Amanda Hoffman;
  • Jo Anne Zito; 
  • Philippe Dume; 
  • Michael Brennan; and,
  • Gaetano Lardieri.

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

Treasury Report: 

A detailed treasury report was forwarded to CMMNJ Board members.  In summary, in 2019 CMMNJ had expenditures of $3,482 and income of $2,128 for a loss this year of $1,354. CMMNJ finished the year with a checking account balance of $3,726 and a PayPal account balance of $2512 for a grand total of $6,238.

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 $373 in 2019. CMMNJ is unable to individually thank those who donated through Network for Good since the donations are listed as anonymous.

CMMNJ Board members will be encouraged to increase fundraising efforts in 2020 in order to be in a better position to meet our objectives and goals.

CMMNJ’s 2020 Recommendations:

·         Build support for the ballot question to legalize marijuana for adults in New Jersey.
·         Allow registered patients in the NJ MMP to grow a limited supply of cannabis (Home Grow Now!)
·         Increase fundraising efforts for CMMNJ.
·         Plan and influence 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.
·         Reschedule or 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 for patients.
·         Attend and participate in marijuana-related educational conferences.

Schedule of CMMNJ 2020 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 #1 or #3. (Meeting at the library does not imply the county’s endorsement of our issue.)

Follow CMMNJ on Facebook at,

More Info:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618  

January 6, 2020