Tag Archive: cannabis

The Day Mary Pat Angelini’s Head Explodes

**UPDATE! (June25th) This bill was shelved in May, when this post originally aired. It’s back. And up for a full vote today.**

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini will have a meltdown on the chamber floor today. Mark my words. Look for the sort of spectacle only Nancy Reagan would love.

It’ll probably happen around 4pm during the Assembly debate (and vote) to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State. Most of Angelini’s Assembly colleagues will vote to pass the bill, thus striking a blow against the failed, costly, dangerous “War on Drugs.”The bill might even pass the lower house with a veto-proof majority.

But look for Mary Pat to show us that Reefer Madness is still very much alive in New Jersey. I’ll be tuning in just to hear how crazy she sounds because, frankly, it amuses me to hear her make a fool out of herself. And her track record suggests nothing less. Consider the following:

  • Mary Pat Angelini didn’t simply vote against medical marijuana. She gave an insane-sounding, desperate plea to everyone on the chamber floor to do the same. Her reasoning? Allowing cancer patients access to medically-administered cannabis would directly result in upper middle class white kids becoming addicted to crack, heroine and crystal meth.

    In Mary Pat’s mind, medical marijuana is the gateway to society’s ruin. She said so. In front of a lot of people wearing incredulous looks, self included. I could barely believe my ears listening to her woefully ill-informed conclusions about medical marijuana and the patients who are (literally) dying to use it.

    Assemblywoman Angelini’s hurtful comments equating a hospice nurse to a dope dealer drew gasps from the crowd. And her spiteful, mean-spirited characterization of people who use medical cannabis won’t be forgotten. Not as long as I’m around.

    The bill ultimately sailed by a vote of 48-14 with the most compelling arguments for passage coming from Angelini’s fellow Republicans. It would mark the beginning of a pattern where Angelini was a minority within a minority on Drug Policy issues.

  • Mary Pat Angelini voted against a needle exchange program in New Jersey. Never mind needle-exchange is PROVEN to reduce HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis transmission rates, her so-called rationale for the NO vote was a familiar one: access to clean needles for drug addicts sends a message that society condones IV drug use. Which is about as stupid and dangerous as a doctor saying to a grieving mother, “I’m sorry about your dead son. I couldn’t treat him when he overdosed on drugs. Wouldn’t want to send the wrong message to society, now would I?”

    Utter nonsense. Last I checked Mary Pat Angelini is neither scientist nor doctor. But she DOES represent Asbury Park, which has one of the highest HIV transmission rates in the state. With hysterical lawmakers like Mary Pat Angelini making policy in Trenton, it’s easy to see why.

    Follow me below the fold where I reveal what’s animating Assemblywoman Angelini’s modern brand of Reefer Madness….

  • Yo Christie! Don’t be like Corzine!

    In August of 2008, Multiple Sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson of Franklin Township, NJ, was arrested for growing medical cannabis in his backyard. According to news reports, Mr. Wilson was:

    “charged with ‘manufacturing’ 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his Multiple Sclerosis. Wilson faced 20 years in state prison for this crime. At trial, Superior Court Judge Robert Reed would not let the jury hear the reason that Wilson grew the marijuana plants, essentially removing Wilson’s only defense.

    Four years after his arrest (and two years after NJ’s medical marijuana law was signed) John Ray Wilson — currently out on appeal — was ordered to return to prison TOMORROW to serve out his 5 year term.

    Senator Raymond Lesniak, who was a chief proponent of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, had this appeal to Gov. Chris Christie:

    “I am disappointed by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to deny the appeal of John Ray Wilson. He was merely trying to alleviate the symptoms of a dreadfully painful and regressive disease. It is unconscionable that this Friday he will be behind bars. Three years ago, I called on Gov. Corzine to commute the sentence of Mr. Wilson. After inaction with the last governor, I was hopeful Gov. Christie would better understand the unfair reality of this situation. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been just like Corzine, refusing to use his and only his power to make things right when the true intentions of the law were misapplied. (Ironically) before John Ray Wilson completes his prison sentence, the State of NJ will have its medical marijuana program up and running, and Mr. Wilson may likely be using medical marijuana behind bars or the prescription pain killers he couldn’t afford, paid for by the state’s taxpayers. Governor Christie should commute his sentence immediately.”

    More reaction below.

    Bill to Decriminalize small amounts of Marijuana garners 18 co-sponsors.

    22,439 people were arrested in New Jersey for possessing less than 50 grams* of cannabis in 2009.

    FreedomIsGreen.Com, a local blog devoted to advancing more enlightened cannabis policy in New Jersey is reporting an an intriguing new bill on the Assembly docket that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Garden State.

    The bill, which already has 18 co-sponsors (5 from the GOP) was introduced by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), the same bi-partisan duo that introduced the state’s nascent medical marijuana law.

    Medical Marijuana showdown today in Trenton?

    For the past year Governor Christie has ignored the will of NJ voters and a bi-partisan majority in the State House and refused to allow the state’s medical marijuana plan to proceed.

    (State House)–Today in Trenton the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to confirm (or not…) the Department of Health’s new chief commissioner. That role was vacated by Dr. Poonam Aleigh who recently got her head rolled resigned — supposedly to care for a dying relative. It’s unlikely that’s the only reason she left considering she’s already been shortlisted for a new executive job.

    Anyway, Governor Christie has nominated Mary O’Dowd to be the new commish. She happens to be married to Kevin O’Dowd, one of Christie’s top legal advisers. Senator Nick Scutari chairs the judiciary committee that will decide Mary O’Dowd’s fate today. He’s also the primary sponsor of NJ’s Medical Marijuana law (that NJ’s Health Department is supposed to be overseeing….) Because Senator Scutari is the chairman of this committee, he can pin her down for answers about WTF the medical marijuana law continues to languish. If her answers are evasive or unsatisfying, her appointment could be held up.

    Medical Cannabis Program Set Up To Fail

    “The regulations are making it impossible to implement the medical marijuana statute that was signed into law.” – Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22)

    Senator Scutari, sponsor of the Medical Marijuana Act, said he will introduce a resolution Monday that would provide the Health Department 30 days to withdraw the rules or rewrite them. The department had placed on its website on October 6 draft proposed regulations, met with concerned advocates, patients and potential program applicants on Thursday, and was planning to publish proposed regulations in the register on November 1. At the stakeholder meeting on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner Walsh answered questions to a group of about 200 angry stakeholders.

    Senator Scutari’s resolution is essential because the  program as it stands is inoperable. It will probably delay the availability of medicinal cannabis and the RFP application originally scheduled to be available next week. However, the proposed regulations need substantial changes. Organizations interested in cultivating and dispensing cannabis will decide against applying for a license because of high state fees, restrictions on the strains of cannabis and the levels of THC, uncertainty of pricing, being within 1,000 feet of a school, having to provide criminal checks and fingerprinting of board members, and rules against even low-key advertising. Those groups which do apply would be operating under uncertain and adverse circumstances with a high likelihood of failure.  Indeed, the program as presented, sets itself up for failure.

    There is a rally planned at the steps of the State House on Monday from noon to 2:00 PM.   Concerned individuals should attend the rally and send their proposed changes to Deputy Commissioner Walsh and Sen. Scutari.

    See below the fold for some of the many ill-conceived regulations which threaten medical care for ill patients.

    Nat’l GOP: Gov. Christie Wrong on Medical Marijuana

    Chris Christie is so wrong on medical marijuana that even his groupies are preaching it.

    The American Conservative on our law, currently in limbo:

    The law as enacted – and signed by former Gov. Jon Corzine in January – is already the toughest among the medical marijuana laws passed by 13 other states in recent years. Christie’s heavy-handed modifications are most definitely a reflection of his aversion to it from the start. He already sought to delay the program’s implementation for a year. This might sound like minutes to Washington bureaucrats, but for a patient wasting away from AIDS or suffering from chemo-inducing nausea, it could very well be a lifetime.

    This might be the future – citizens work hard to change things democratically, in this case, marijuana reform, and politicians and institutions that don’t like it, get their revenge in the rule-making process, which is not so democratic. Nor very liberty-loving.

    Anybody got any suggestions how tomake our Governor pay a political price for his (universally) unpopular position? Let’s brainstorm.

    A Looming “Deadline” on Medical Marijuana in NJ

    Although a law was passed in January legalizing medical marijuana in NJ, terminally ill patients in the state are still unclear about A) when the law goes into effect and B) who can qualify. But that might all change in a few days.

    Chris Goldstein has the call:

    NJ Residents that may qualify for legal medical cannabis have been looking forward to October 1, 2010. After legislators granted a 90-day delay to the program, this is now when patients hope to see some progress.

    Yet, 10/1/2010 is not a deadline. Technically the state has a 30-day window in which to act.

    For some, the delay was already too much. Vietnam Veteran Robert “Bob” Van Sant Jr. of Jackson, NJ passed away in August from cancer. Both the disease and the attempted treatments racked his body.

    Click here for the rest of the story.