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Jim Corzine

Marijuana Industry News March 8, 2013

white house

Ex-DEA Officials Pressure White House to Go After New Recreational Marijuana States…

As we have previously reported at, federal authorities have remained relatively quiet on the issue of legal marijuana ever since the voters of Colorado and Washington state decided to legalize recreational use.  The issue is gaining national acceptance as a recent Reason/Rupe poll suggested that 72% of Americans do not think marijuana users should be arrested.  The poll also found that 68% of respondents do not feel growers should be arrested.  Fifty three percent of those included in the national poll said they felt marijuana should be regulated in a similar fashion to alcohol.  Even with swelling public support, former DEA officials are trying to convince the federal government to overpower Colorado and Washington.  The retired DEA members feel that if the feds do not act now, they may lose the issue forever.  Peter Bensinger, a former DEA administrator recently told the Associated  Press that “My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: Do nothing and say nothing.  If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months.”  In a country where consensus is becoming a rare phenomenon, these soaring levels of support may already have signaled the point of no return.  As we start to feel the impact of sequestration and lack of compromise, DEA officials may find it a tough sell to continue using tax dollars to go after marijuana users and growers.  Additionally, federal law is actually preventing billions in potential tax revenue that is desperately needed.


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New Jersey Lawmakers Seeking to Keep Medical Marijuana Patients on Organ Transplant List…

Many lawmakers around the United States have long snickered at medical marijuana.  The easy and quick analysis is that it MUST be front a for those looking to circumvent the law.  However, for many this is the most serious issue they have ever encountered in their life.  As millions worldwide have improved their quality of life with medical marijuana use, naïve talking point politicians have been slow to research the issue.  One major problem for elderly medical marijuana patients is that they typically taken off organ recipient lists.  This places them in a difficult situation.  How does one value the long term (needed organ transplant) over the short term (immediate daily pain relieved by cannabis)?  New Jersey is attempting to fix this before it becomes a major issue in the Garden State.  Earlier this week, New Jersey’s Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee passed S-1220.  The panel stated that S-1220 “would provide that a registered, qualifying patient’s authorized use of medical marijuana would be considered equivalent to using other prescribed medication rather than an illicit substance and therefore would not disqualify the person from needed medical care, such as an organ transplant.”  It took New Jersey several years to cut through their bureaucratic red tape and institute a medical marijuana program passed under previous Governor, Jim Corzine.  However, it is reassuring to see that they are taking a compassionate approach with this issue.  In a press release by the bill’s co-sponsors, lawmakers said that removing patients from the organ recipient list because of medical marijuana use is a practice that is “unconscionable as the patients have followed their doctors’ orders and have taken a legal medication to reduce the pain and suffering associated with their illness. Transplant centers should not be able to discriminate against people for using this prescription pain killer.”


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Michigan Judge Rules that Medical Marijuana Patients Cannot be Denied Unemployment Benefits…

The story above highlighted a victory for patients in New Jersey.  We also have good news to report for those patients in Michigan.  Last August, a Michigan court ruled that the Michigan Marijuana Act of 2008 “does not offer any employment protection to card holders” and “does not regulate private employment.”  In September the decision was upheld when former Walmart employee, Joseph Casias, was let go for marijuana use even as he was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.  He was also denied benefits after being let go.  This week, Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette ruled that medical marijuana patients can receive unemployment benefits after termination of employment.  Medical marijuana has had a wild ride in Michigan over the course of the past several years since it was legalized in 2008. Even as Michigan lawmakers and state Attorney General, Bill Schuette, try to fight against medical marijuana, residents have made it clear they support a patient’s right to use medical cannabis.  Michigan has some of the most progressive medical marijuana laws and is one of the only states that allows for minors to receive legal marijuana for certain qualifying conditions.


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New Jersey Dispensary Finally Serves Patients Medical Marijuana

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After what has felt like a soap opera, New Jersey patients have finally now been able to legally access medical marijuana.  The former Governor, Jim Corzine signed off on legislation permitting medical marijuana during his final days in office.  However, Governor Christie and other lawmakers have delayed the program with as many bureaucratic and administrative delays as they could muster.  After that, local townships refused to grant zoning permits.

Although officially legal, medical marijuana would remain in a stalemate until Montclair finally decided to consider the needs of patients and granted Greenleaf Compassion Center its zoning permit.  On Thursday, after years of frustration and delays, Greenleaf’s doors finally opened to patients.  At first supplies will be limited and patients will only have the option to purchase in half ounce increments.  Greenleaf president Joseph Stevens expects supply to be a non issue soon and recently said “everything’s been going great”at the center.

New Jersey has some of the strictest rules in the nation for patients to receive a medical marijuana prescription.  So far there are only 300 patients registered.  However, the program will grow and more patients will be granted relief as time goes on and more conditions are recognized in the program.  Additionally, there may soon be six dispensaries in the Garden Staten as five other collectives have received approval.  New Jersey is one of the most populous states in the nation.  We believe and hope they will show other states in the northeast and east coast how to run medical marijuana dispensaries.  We all know who New Jersey’s big brother and it may only be a matter of time now before the Big Apple approves medical marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News September 7, 2012

cannabis research

More and More Evidence Supporting Marijuana’s Ability to Fight Cancer… has extensively covered the constant updates on the ability of cannabis to provide medical relief.  One of the most promising areas of marijuana medicine is in its potential to reduce and fight cancer.   Many simply cannot believe this as the propaganda machine has told a very different  story.  However, research and even a government study has indicated that marijuana and hemp oils may be the future of cancer medication.  A new article on Daily Beast, highlights many of the marijuana medical breakthroughs over the course of the last 15 years, especially in cancer research.  The article avoids political talking points and tired discussion, rather, opting to describe studies and research conducted at prestigious educational institutions including Harvard and Lancaster University and research printed in medical journals such as British Journal of Pharmacology and Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry.


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Jimmy Carter’s Drug Czar Criticizes President’s Handling of Marijuana…

Every four years both major political parties in the United States hold conventions.  Jimmy Carter continuously serves as a punching bag for Republicans and a stepping stone to gush over former  Ronald Reagan.  Decades later, while still perhaps not viewed as a successful president, some forward thinking ideas from President Carter are gaining traction.  In 1977, President Carter wrote a letter to Congress urging re-prioritized efforts to focus on heroin and barbiturates as they were accounting for 90% of narcotic related deaths.  Redirecting the drug war still has not been properly done but the momentum for this 35 years later is at an all time high.  Echoing this are recent statements by Peter Bourne who served as the director of the National Drug Control Policy.  Mr. Bourne characterized President Obama’s approach to drug enforcement as “totally insane” and urged the president to enact executive orders if Congress was unwilling to amend laws.  The president is familiar with utilizing executive orders as the partisan gridlock of Capitol Hill has prevented many new laws from being passed.  The president most recently used an executive order with his new immigration directive, which will allow those who came to this country as children illegally to stay here without fear of deportation.  Bourne went on to say that federal raids of marijuana dispensaries and keeping marijuana as a schedule I drug (the same classification as heroin meth and other destructive narcotics) “doesn’t make any sense at all”.  Peter Bourne also praised legalization efforts such as Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Washington’s Initiative 502.


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More Marijuana Doctors than Patients In New Jersey…

The soap opera that is New Jersey’s medical marijuana program continues.  It has been well documented and publicized that New Jersey lawmakers have dragged their feet on the issue.  Medical marijuana was passed several years ago under exiting Governor Jim Corzine.  Still, there has not been one single patient served.  The current Governor, Chris Christie who delivered the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, has tried to delay the program as much as he could.  Getting approved as a medical marijuana patient is extremely difficult and seems to require more vetting than becoming an approved doctor to prescribe marijuana.  Currently there are 130 approved patients who will eligible to receive marijuana prescriptions when the program finally gets underway.  However, there are over 160 doctors who have been approved to issue these prescriptions.  Conversely in Arizona, regarded as a tough state to receive a marijuana prescription, issued 700 prescriptions in its first year and has a significantly smaller population than New Jersey.  Another issue perplexing patients is even getting an appointment.  Of the 160 doctors, many are not even accepting patients.


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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 17, 2012

dispensary closure

Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries Ordered To Close on Sept 6…

Several weeks ago the Los Angeles City Council decided to issue an order to ban all marijuana dispensaries within city limits.  The move has caused a fair amount of commotion and legal experts do not even know for sure if they city is operating within their rights.  A recent decision by California’s second District of Appeals ruled that local municipalities cannot outlaw marijuana dispensaries.  Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sent out 1,000 letters to buildings they believe are dispensaries informing them that they need to close their doors or face possible fines of $2,500 per day fine after September 6th.  There is a considerable amount of legal confusion in the air.  Besides the 2nd district decision, there are also referendums in the works with activists collecting signatures.  This could also delay or eliminate the city’s ban.  Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access said “We don’t have a clear-cut response for them on what’s going on.  It would be imprudent to tell them to stay open. But at the same time, there is all this other activity going on that could change the situation in a matter of weeks.”


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Colorado Legalization Initiative Could Mean Big Bucks for State…

Earlier in the week ran a story that described how much money could be made in the state of Washington should residents vote to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis.  Colorado has also released a report that shows how much money could be generated if their similar law, amendment 64 is passed.  A report released by The Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) indicated that in the first year alone legalizing cannabis could generate $60 million in its first year and rise to $120 million by 2017.  Of the $120 million $80 million would go toward alleviating financial burdens of local and state government with the remaining $40 million being directed to a fund that would construct new schools.  Showing its potential for job creation the program would create 350 new construction jobs.  This is independent of the jobs created for medical personnel, dispensary workers, security companies and several other industries.


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New Jersey Off to Slow Start in Registering Patients…

Matching the snail’s pace of the launching the entire medical marijuana program in New Jersey, only 50 patients so far have been approved to be legal cannabis patients in the Garden State.  The good news is that the program is moving forward after almost no action for two years after it was approved by exiting former Governor Jim Corzine.  So far state lawmakers have delayed the program for as long as they can and the small patient registration numbers come as no surprise.  The point of the program is to prevent patients from having to secure their medication from illegal sources.  So far the program is doing the opposite.   Chris Goldstein, a spokesperson for The Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey said “Patients meanwhile are going on the underground market.  “It’s not like they’re not accessing medicine out there.”  New Jersey aimed to be a state with strict guidelines but has been outpaced by other known strict medical marijuana states such as Arizona.  However, there is reason to believe that patient registration will pick up as every aspect of the program has been hastened by the threat of lawsuits.  Expect more of the same as advocates will surely pursue the legal route if patients are not being accepted into the program.

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