New Jersey

New Jersey: Highly Regulated Social Cannabis Bill Introduced In The Garden State

New Jersey Cannabis

New Jersey residents would not be allowed to cultivate cannabis for personal use

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The measure introduced by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) would only allow licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis for medical or recreational use. Cannabis products would be subjected to a sales tax of seven to 25 percent over the course of five years if the proposal is approved.

Under the bill, adults in New Jersey would be able to consume cannabis legally. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana flower would also be permitted, along with 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused products like edibles, 72 ounces of liquid marijuana tinctures, drinks and oils and seven grams of concentrates.

New Jersey: Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Set To Be Unveiled

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A New Jersey lawmaker will unveil legislation on Monday that would legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana in the state.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) plans to formally announce the Democratic-sponsored measure at a noon news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton.

If the bill becomes law, New Jersey will be the ninth state to legalize adult-use, recreational marijuana, joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

"The national trend is toward legalization," Scutari told NJ Advance Media on Friday. "It's absolutely necessary to save our neighborhoods from drug dealers. And we can use the tax revenue. And people are smoking it anyway."

The bill will need to be passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and signed by the governor to be enacted.

Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, strongly opposes marijuana, arguing that it's a "gateway drug" that can lead users to try harder substances.

Earlier this month, he said that Democrats who want to pass such legislation are willing to "poison our kids" to receive "blood money" from the tax money it will bring in.

"This is beyond stupidity," he said during a speech in Princeton.

New Jersey: Gov. Christie Calls Marijuana Legalization 'Beyond Stupidity'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the push for cannabis legalization “beyond stupidity,” adding that it’s “not time for use to be cool and say, ‘Pot’s OK,’” during a forum on substance abuse hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association, NJ.com reports.

“We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates,” Christie said during his remarks. “But people are saying pot’s OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything’s OK. Baloney.”

Christie rallied against pro-legalization politicians, including Democrat Phil Murphy who is the favorite in this year’s gubernatorial campaign in the state.

“People like [Rep.] Nick Scutari and [Senate President] Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway,” Christie said in the report. “Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”

Democrat Scutari is the main sponsor of legalization legislation expected to be introduced in the legislature next year. Sweeney has indicated he would support the bill.

New Jersey: Migraine, Chronic Pain Patients Seek Approval To Use Medical Marijuana

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by Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A health department panel in New Jersey will consider adding chronic pain and other ailments to the state's list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana.

The public is invited to attend and make comments at the hearing scheduled for February 22. The panel will consist of eight doctors, pharmacists, and nurses who were appointed by Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett nearly one year ago.

“I think cannabis can replace all three of the medications I take for anxiety, migraines, and chronic pain,” said Bob Kane, 56, a retired landscaper from Ocean View who had his family doctor write letters to the department supporting his request in three petitions he submitted.

68 people sent petitions to the panel. Migraines, autism, lupus, and opiate-addiction disorder were some of the 20 or so ailments mentioned in the petitions.

The medical marijuana program currently allows patients who have terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, glaucoma, and several other conditions to obtain cannabis if recommended by their doctor.

New Jersey: Child, 3, Tests Positive For Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale announced Saturday afternoon that police are investigating a report that a 3-year-old child tested positive for marijuana early Saturday morning.

Speziale said that police were met at 3 a.m. Saturday, December 31 by child protective services at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center because "a 3-year-old had tested positive for marijuana."

"It is an unfortunate situation," Speziale said. "We don't know if it is because of contact or ingestion. We take these situations as serious."

He said the situation could lead to the child being removed from family. Information was limited according to Speziale. He was not sure if the child was male or female.

The Paterson Police Department is working to complete an offense report about the incident. The matter will be referred to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Minnesota: PTSD Added to List of Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Minnesota Department of Health is adding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of conditions that can qualify patients for medical marijuana.

Minnesota now joins New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis.

A large amount of research has led to the conclusion that medical marijuana can be useful for "innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders,” according to a government-funded study released in 2014.

Another study released in 2015 found that; “When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes…. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal.”

New Jersey: State Sees Renewed Push To Make Marijuana Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Following Gov. Chris Christie's surprising reversal on expanding the medical marijuana program, a new batch of bills to allow recreational pot in New Jersey are being proposed.

Christie is not likely to change his strong opposition to legalizing marijuana, even though he signed a bill last month to add post-traumatic stress syndrome to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. It was the first time a mental-health condition had been added to the list.

But lawmakers say three legalization bills are being introduced this year to get discussions started, in anticipation of the end of Christie's term in 2018.

The newest proposal was introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris). It would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19. Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more "far-reaching" than other marijuana bills.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D., Union), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a municipal prosecutor, introduced the state's first legalization bill in November.

His proposal called for cannabis to be regulated the same way as alcohol, sold by stores with a state license, and restricted to those 21 and over. The product would be taxed under his bill, and the revenues used for education and other public purposes.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie Signs Bill Approving Marijuana For PTSD Treatment

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

People in New Jersey can now legally treat their post-traumatic stress disorder with marijuana.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a measure Wednesday allowing people to use marijuana if their PTSD is not treatable conventionally, a move actively sought by combat veterans.

Christie noted in a statement sent with the announcement that federal officials estimate up to 20 percent of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD.

"The mere potential of abuse by some should not deter the state from taking action that may ease the daily struggles of veterans and others who legitimately suffer from PTSD," Christie wrote.

New Jersey is the 18th state to allow PTSD to be treated with medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana in New Jersey is also approved to treat multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and any terminal disease with a prognosis of less than one year. It's approved for seizures and glaucoma also if those conditions resist conventional treatment.

Lawmakers praised his decision.

New Jersey: Over 17,000 Signatures On Petition Asking Governor To Allow Cannabis For PTSD

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A petition calling on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to sign a bill adding post traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying medical cannabis condition has over 17,000 signatures, collected in only three weeks.

“On August 1st New Jersey’s full legislature gave approval to Assembly Bill 457 which would add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying medical cannabis condition. The vote in the Senate was 29 to 9; the vote in the Assembly was 56 to 13?, states the petition. “Now, the measure sits on the desk of Governor Chris Christie, who has the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or vetoing it.”

It continues; “We are calling Governor Christie to quickly sign it into law, allowing those suffering from the ailment to use a medicine that research has continually shown is beneficial.”

New Jersey: Newark Marijuana Proposal Headed For Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voters in Newark, New Jersey will have the opportunity in November to vote to eliminate penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Currently under state law, anyone caught with under 100 grams of marijuana or paraphernalia face a maximum fine of $150 and loss of driving privileges.

Under Newark's current law, however, possession of under 100 grams of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is punishable by a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

The discrepancy between Newark’s law and state law for marijuana possession is part of the reason organizers sought to get the proposal on the ballot.

The new proposal would remove penalties for possessing less than 200 grams of marijuana in the city. Under the initiative, possessing less than 200 grams would constitute a minor misdemeanor, and no fines, incarceration, probation or “any other punitive or rehabilitative measure” would be imposed.

Board of Elections Director Gloria Carson said Tuesday that the Licking County Board of Elections validated 1,107 signatures supporting the measure, surpassing the 1,063 signatures that were needed to get on the ballot.

Organizers say the new proposal will allow law enforcement officers more opportunity to focus on serious problems in the community.

New Jersey: Assembly Advances Bill Adding PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

The NJ Assembly passed legislation Thursday adding PTSD to the list of conditions treatable with medical marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Assembly passed legislation on Thursday to allow qualified New Jersey residents to use medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Democratic-led Assembly voted 55-14, with 7 abstentions, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, ignored advocates of the bill who asked him to sign the measure as he walked into the statehouse Thursday. He has often been critical of marijuana legalization in other states.

Jim Miller, the co-founder of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, said he has asked the governor at least four times previously to support the measure, but Christie has never answered him.

Although cannabis is illegal in most states and not approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs for PTSD treatment, Miller said he supports the bill.

“They shouldn’t have to fight their government for the inherent right to health,” Miller said.

Marijuana is currently approved in New Jersey to treat multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and terminal cancer, among other medical diseases. It’s also approved for seizures and glaucoma if those conditions are resistant to conventional treatment.

New Jersey: Lawmaker Proposes Bill To Legalize Marijuana In Atlantic City

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

One New Jersey lawmaker believes legalizing marijuana in Atlantic City would be a good idea for the struggling city.

Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora said he will introduce a bill Thursday to let voters decide whether to make recreational use of marijuana legal only in Atlantic City.

The bill is called Promoting Opportunities for Tomorrow, or POT.

It would put the question on a statewide general election ballot, giving voters the opportunity to vote to permit the commercial growth, sale,possession, consumption, and taxation of marijuana within the city limits of Atlantic City for adults 21 years of age and over.

Marijuana would be taxed at 20 percent of its market price, with Atlantic City and the state sharing the revenue.

Atlantic City is struggling with severe financial problems that began with the contraction of its casino industry. Four of the city's 12 casinos shut down in 2014, and the state is considering a takeover of the city's finances unless it comes up with a turnaround plan in five months.

Gusciora wrote in the bill that criminalization of marijuana "is archaic and has had a disparate, harmful impact on minority communities" throughout New Jersey, including Atlantic City.

New Jersey: Scutari Pushes For Marijuana Legalization Despite Resistance From Governor Christie

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22) has just returned from a trip to Colorado where he toured the state's dispensaries and consulted with state officials on the rollout of their legalization effort. He hopes to get New Jersey to follow in that state's footsteps despite resistance from Governor Chris Christie on the issue.

Scutari spoke at a State House press conference, saying that he expects he will be able to draft a comprehensive bill and rally support for the measure before the end of this session. He said that he has been in touch with certain of the Democratic frontrunners in the race to succeed Christie in 2017.

“You’re going to have a new administration next year,” Scutari said. “And we’re going to see which one and what they’re going to do with it. I know that Mr. Murphy has already indicated publicly that he would sign a legalization. I know that no one has talked negatively about it."

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) have said they would consider legalization while Jersey City Steve Fulop has not taken a position.

New Jersey: Legalization Would Boost Tax Revenues By $300 Million, According To Report

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana for adult sin New Jersey would generate at least $300 million in new tax revenues each year, according to a new report released Tuesday morning.

The report calls the $300 million estimate "conservative," basing it on a 25 percent tax on retail marijuana sold only to adults, reports the Philly Voice. The overall economic impact would be far greater once other benefits, including job creation, additional income and business tax revenue, related accessories, and property and agricultural taxes, according to the report, by New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

Around 365,000 adults in New Jersey use marijuana on at least a monthly basis; they use about 2.5 million ounces of marijuana a year, according to the report. That represents 4 percent of the state's population, which sounds like a rather low estimate to us.

New Jersey: Police Sergeant Accused Of Selling Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Jersey cop has been charged with dealing marijuana; the officer's father is a captain in the same police department in the city of Linden.

Sgt. William Turbett III has been suspended from the police force due to an unrelated case involving Internal Affairs, but now the 30-year-old faces marijuana possession and distribution charges, according to the Union County Prosecutor's Office, reports Anthony Johnson at ABC 7.

There was police activity on Wednesday night at the South Amboy home of Sgt. Turbett, according to neighbors, with multiple agencies involved in the investigation.

Sayreville police and the Prosecutor's Office Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant on Turbett's home and reportedly found a small amount of marijuana, according to prosecutors, reports CBS New York.

New Jersey: Weedman Arrested, Cops Seize $19K Of Marijuana From His Business

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A marijuana advocate who calls himself Weedman has been arrested again on marijuana charges after law enforcement raided his restaurant and cannabis temple.

Ed Forchion was arrested along with 10 other people Wednesday after a raid of his business across the street from City Hall in Trenton.

Forchion opened a restaurant, NJ Weedman's Joint, and an attached cannabis church last year. The restaurant's clocks are all stuck at 4:20. And the joint offers $4.20 specials that include the Fully Baked Burger. For $7.10, customers could get the Budz Nugz, grilled salmon nuggets over a bed of mixed greens.

Last month Forchion sued Trenton police, saying they violated his religious rights by shutting down the cannabis temple for staying open too late.

Police said they found marijuana and all sorts of edibles in nearly every part of the establishment, including the backyard.

Forchion, 51, was being held in lieu of $50,000 cash or bond bail on the following charges:

-Six counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance
-Three counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance
-Three counts possession with the intent to distribute
-Two counts of possession with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school
-Possession with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park
-Fortified premises

New Jersey: Menstrual Cramps Could Be Treated With Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill was introduced Thursday that would allow New Jersey women to take medical marijuana to ease menstrual cramps.

The bill was introduced yesterday by Democratic Assembly members Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer, and Angelica Jiminez.

Eustace says that denying women the treatment fails to recognize the impact cramping can have on wellness and productivity.

Spencer says that medical issues affecting women have been downplayed for too long.

Medical marijuana in New Jersey is currently approved to treat terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis, among others. It's It’s also approved for seizures and glaucoma if resistant to conventional treatment.

U.S.: First-Ever Bail Reform Legislation Introduced In Congress

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Bill Would Ban States from Receiving Federal Law Enforcement Dollars If They Use Money Bail

DPA: Far Too Many People Behind Bars Simply Because They Can’t Afford Bail; 60% of People in U.S. Jails Have Not Been Convicted of Any Crime

A group of Congressmen led by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) on Wednesday introduced the No More Money Bail Act of 2016. The bill would reform the country’s bail system by denying states access to Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) funds until they end the use of monetary payment as a condition for pretrial release.

Byrne JAG is one of the main federal law enforcement grant programs, directing hundreds of millions of dollars annually to state law enforcement agencies. The bill would also prohibit the use of money bail at the federal level.

“Too many individuals are currently held without trial simply because they cannot afford bail,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Many of them are charged with drug offenses, therefore the nexus between the drug war and money bail is clear.”

Currently, around 60 percent of individuals in jail in the U.S. are pretrial detainees who have not been convicted of any crime. Such a system contradicts the ethos of “innocent until proven guilty,” and has an adverse impact on low-income families and communities of color.

New Jersey: Christie Won't Apologize To Family Who Left State For Child's Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday defended his state's strict medical marijuana program, shrugging off a suggestion that a family had no choice but to relocate to Colorado so their ailing daughter could access medicinal cannabis products.

"Vivian Wilson's family chose themselves to leave the state of New Jersey," an unapologetic Christie blustered, reports Susan K. Livio at NJ Advance Media. "The fact is we signed into law the ability for children to get medical marijuana under very strict guidelines."

"The folks who want edibles all the time for kids should go to Colorado," Christie said. "So you know, I'm sorry, I am an anti-marijuana guy. You are a pro-marijuana guy," he said to a spectator at Wednesday's town hall who asked about the Wilson family, and whether it was fair they were forced to leave the state for their daughter's health. "That's fine," Christie said. "I'll enforce the federal law."

"This is a medical program, not a recreational program," the incredibly insensitive Christie unnecessarily pointed out. (Is this loud-mouthed lard tub really suggesting that Vivian's parents want to get her stoned?)

Vivian, 4, suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe, potentially life-threatening form of epilepsy that results in seizures that traditional pharmaceuticals have been unable to control.

U.S.: Facebook Deletes Medical Marijuana Pages

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Facebook apparently doesn't "Like" medical marijuana. The social media giant this week deleted pages run by three New Jersey dispensaries, and at least a handful of others across the country.

The move surprised dispensary owners and angered patients, reports Susan K. Livio at NJ Advance Media.

"It seems high-handed to simply shut down important resources for sick patients without even saying why or giving organizations a way to ask for reconsideration," said Peter Rosenfeld, one of 5,668 registered medical marijuana patients in New Jersey's program. "What better use of social media than having sites where parents of sick children can ask questions about medication and treatments?"

Facebook media relations personnel refused to answer questions, and referred reporters to the community standards section on Facebook's homepage.

Officials from Breakwater Wellness and Treatment Center in Cranbury, and Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center in Bellmawr, said their pages were shut down by Facebook on Tuesday. When they tried to use the pages, they got an electronic message reading, "We remove any promotion or encouragement of drug use."

"Your page is currently not visible on Facebook," the message reads. "It looks like content on your page does not follow the Facebook Community Terms and Standards."

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