February 9, 2016

The Big Green Doomsday Machine: NJ Gov Christie and Corporate Marijuana

illustration from Skunk Magazine

Printed in the current issue of Skunk Magazine; by Chris Goldstein and Beth Mann from freedomisgreen.com – It is 2012 and a team of political super-villains is plotting to keep marijuana illegal in the USA forever. The steady march to make holistic marijuana therapy available in the US is on the brink of being taken over and exploited indefinitely.

This subversive and nefarious attack is most apparent in states like California. The federal storm troopers smashing up dispensaries and beady-eyed IRS guys seizing property are simply the henchmen.

The new strategists include corporate interests and Big Pharma. These sharks smelled the cash in the water and have quickly allied themselves with old school prohibitionists for a full scale market takeover.

This evil scheme isn’t just happening in the West where legal, upstanding dispensaries are closed by the dozens; it’s a national coup with a powerful command post on the East Coast. [Read more…]




CONTACT: Anne Davis Esq. 732 477 4700, William Buckman Esq. 856 608 9797 or Chris Goldstein 267 702 3731


Trenton- Today a lawsuit was filed against the State of New Jersey over the failure to implement the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Named in the suit are the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Mary O’Dowd and the newly appointed director of the Medicinal Marijuana Program John O’Brien.

Civil rights attorneys William H. Buckman of Moorestown and Anne M. Davis of Brick brought the suit on behalf of a New Jersey medical patient who would qualify for cannabis access. The suit also represents one of the few medical doctors who have registered with NJ to recommend medical marijuana.

The compassionate use law was passed in January 2010 with a six-month implementation timeline. But since 2010 a series of politically motivated regulatory, legislative and bureaucratic delays have kept the program from operating at all. None of the six approved Alternative Treatment Centers have been fully permitted by DHSS to open.

“We represent a patient who suffered actual damages as a result of these delays,” said Anne Davis, “He cannot utilize the cannabis because New Jersey’s lack of a working program means he could lose his disability pension if he tested positive for cannabis.”

Davis continued, “Our neighbors with AIDS, cancer, MS and the worst of medical conditions have testified before the legislature and changed the law. Now, patients and doctors have to go to court to win the rights that they should have already been afforded.”

The lawsuit gathers more than two years of facts demonstrating that those in charge of the implementation process for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program have been unable or unwilling to put the law into place.

“Today we are filing suit to require the DHHS to do what every other citizen must do – follow the law,” said William Buckman, “We are also insisting that pursuant to the legislature’s will, sick people have access to medical marijuana without fear of arrest.”

For more information about this advisory please contact Anne M. Davis Esq. 732 477 4700, William H. Buckman Esq. 856 608 9797 or Chris Goldstein 267 702 3731


VIDEO: Scotts Miracle-Gro Looks for Marijuana Profits

This is one of the more astounding stories of a mainstream business looking to turn some profit on the marijuana cultivation communities. The CEO of Scotts/Miracle-Gro told the Wall Street Journal this week that America’s greenest business has their eye. Rather than creating new products within their existing retail line, the company may buy up small independents already catering to cannabis growers.

Aaron Houston, the executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is featured in this CNBC program today. Prepare for a whole lot of pot puns.

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com


Medical marijuana in New Jersey gets more complicated

4/29/2011 – The medical cannabis program enacted by the Garden State in January 2010 has not yet gone into practice. Now things have become even more complex. The first six permits for non-profit Alternative Treatments Centers were granted to groups with deep pockets and strong political influence. But that did not stop NJ Attorney General Paula Dow from sending a letter to the US Department of Justice asking for clarification.

The move last week put the nascent cannabis program in the federal government’s harsh spotlight. The April 22, 2011 letter states, in part:

As the state’s chief legal adviser to all of the departments in the Executive Branch, many of which are participating in carrying out the medical marijuana legislation, it is critical that I properly advise them as to the potential criminal and civil ramifications of their actions in carrying out their duties. [Read more…]

NJ Medical Marijuana Groups: Compassionate Sciences Inc

Executives from the mainstream pharmaceutical industry, savvy cannabis experts who already run a facility in Montana and a powerful political figure are the people behind Compassionate Sciences Inc. They are one of the first six non-profit businesses who will operate a medical marijuana center in New Jersey. Like most of the other approved facilities they plan intense investments into the research side of their business.

The application states: “Our mission at Compassionate Sciences is to establish a facility and product that meets a pharma-standard of palliative care.” But the details of their operation to achieve those goals were not released. [Read more…]

New Jersey Marijuana Center Applications Made Public

4/13/2011 – Documents from the application process in New Jersey for the medical marijuana Alternative Treatment Centers are being released. The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) and Freedomisgreen.com acquired the six applications that were approved.They are posted online for public download here: http://www.scribd.com/NJcannabisDocs

Requests for the information were filed through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) with the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). [Read more…]

Medical Marijuana Regulations Due for Washington DC

On April 15th the District of Columbia will move ahead with their medical cannabis system by publishing regulations in the DC Register.  But the nation’s capital is following a similar path as New Jersey: Both are attempting to provide just a handful of centralized cultivation and dispensing centers without any provisions for patients to cultivate at home. DC and NJ have also delayed the implementation of their medical marijuana laws for over a year, the extra time has seen what should be simple regulations have evolve into complex even draconian rules. [Read more…]

No Permit for Low Cost Marijuana Supplier in NJ

Medical cannabis growing in Oakland, CA - photo by C. Goldstein

It wasn’t easy. When it comes to growing and supplying medical marijuana New Jersey ran the most expensive application process seen to date. Just a handful of groups tried and yesterday The Department of Health and Senior Services announced the first six to gain approval.  Candidates had to overcome short deadlines, unclear regulations and significant capitalization all to run a not-for-profit business.

One group wanted to offer medical cannabis at the lowest possible cost, but they were not among those selected. Their innovative plan had the blessing of a local township and would have supplied medical marijuana at an astounding discount. [Read more…]

New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Operators Expect Announcement

Officials may announce the winning applications for the medical marijuana Alternative Treatment Centers  (ATCs) in the Garden State today. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) confirmed in an email that they would release a statement.

More than 20 applicants submitted exhaustive business plans along with a $20,000 filing fee. But the regulations governing the ATC facilities have not been finalized and remain in a Legislative dispute. Potential non-profits have stated that they would find it nearly impossible to operate under the current proposed rules, even if the state does give them a green light.

Read more: NJ Health Commissioner treats medical marijuana patient

East Coast Medical Marijuana Industry opens

St. Patrick’s Day has some green competition as March 2011 could see three states on the East Coast open their medical cannabis industries. Maine, Rhode Island and New Jersey are all in the process of licensing facilities to supply medical grade cannabis to qualifying residents.

Maine’s first dispensary is actually set serve patients this week. That will represent the tangible beginning to state-regulated cannabis coming to this side of the country, but just barely.

The Portland Press Herald published an extensive piece today, well worth reading in full:

The opening of Maine’s dispensaries — the first east of Colorado — comes 16 months after voters approved a network of dispensaries to expand access to marijuana for patients with a limited number of medical conditions, such as cancer and glaucoma. Registered patients can still grow their own or have a caregiver grow marijuana for them.

Five operators have been working to set up eight dispensaries, one in each of Maine’s public health districts Read full

Medical marijuana growing - photo by Editor

Maine essentially legalized medical marijuana in 1999 and has spent the rest of the time trying to come up with a dispensary system. Until now, patients there could only grow their own cannabis or have a designated caregiver cultivate it for them.

That was also the case in Rhode Island where a medical marijuana law was passed in 2006. Patients and caregivers there could form collective gardens or cultivate personally.

Last year RI officials denied every application and then published the carefully crafted business plans online (much to the chagrin of the applicants).

The Ocean State was set to announce the winners of their second round of applicants this week but there has been another delay.

The Providence Journal – The state Health Department has once again postponed making a decision as to whom, if anyone, will be allowed to operate medical-marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island.

In a news release Monday morning, the department said its new interim director, Dr. Michael D. Fine, needed an additional week — until March 15 — to review the 18 applications that have been submitted. Read

Unfortunately it is also a series of delays that have been seen in New Jersey. The NJ Department of Health and Human Services is moving ahead under some questionable regulations charging a $20,000 application fee.

New Jersey saw 21 groups bid to run one of six Alternative Treatment Center sites. Although the rules to operate the facilities have not been finalized Garden State officials say they will announce the winners on March 21st.

So along with Spring and Shamrocks it could be medical cannabis that green the East this month.

Unless there’s another set of delays.

YouTube video below of Diane Riportella in New Jersey who does not have any more time to spare.

More information

Grassroots http://www.asamaine.org/

Rhode Island
Grassroots http://ripatients.org/

New Jersey
Grassroots http://www.cmmnj.org


Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. He volunteers with local groups to change prohibition laws including PhillyNORML and The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. He enjoys old-school hip-hop, vintage airplanes and changing the world. Contact chris { at } freedomisgreen.com

3/17/2011- CORRECTION – Maine allows for designated caregivers to grow medical marijuana for patients as well as personal cultivation by patients. Added “or have a designated caregiver cultivate it for them.” in sixth graph.