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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: 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: 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: 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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