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State Board of Medical Examiners Temporarily Suspends License of NJGREENMD

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Rutherford NJ, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced today that the State Board of Medical Examiners (“the Board”) has temporarily suspended the license of a physician participating in the State’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (“MMP”) amid allegations he created a multimillion dollar enterprise by indiscriminately authorizing marijuana use for thousands of patients he met in hotel conference centers across the state.

Dr. Anthony Anzalone, 66, who has been a registered participant in the MMP since 2012, must wind down his medical practice within the next 30 days and cease practicing medicine altogether on February 8, under the terms of an Interim Consent Order he entered with the Board on Wednesday. His license will remain temporarily suspended until the allegations against him are resolved.

“State legislatures may relax their laws against marijuana – and many already have – but there are limits to what state law allows, and the public should know that we vigorously enforce those limits to protect public safety and prevent unlawful distribution,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We allege that Dr. Anzalone failed to adhere to even the most fundamental rules of New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program, a program carefully regulated to meet the public’s need for compassionate treatment alternatives while preventing unlawful marijuana distribution and use. We expect physicians to abide by the rules and regulations of their profession, no matter what kind of medicine they are practicing.”

In a Verified Complaint filed with the Board, the State alleges that Anzalone, who advertises as “NJGreenMD,” engaged in fraud, gross negligence, and professional misconduct by indiscriminately authorizing medicinal marijuana to large groups of people who attended conferences he held in hotels around the state, charging each an initial consultation fee of $350 and subsequently charging each quarterly fees of $100 for continued authorization of the drug.

The State alleges that Anzalone’s marijuana practice was inherently impersonal and detached from any effort to individualize care. At the hotel conferences he held, Anzalone typically discussed medicinal marijuana generally with the group and then relied on his staff, who were not trained in the field of medicine, to register these individuals in the MMP with 90-day supplies of the drug, to instruct the patients on use and storage of the drug, and to obtain the initial consultation fee, typically paid in cash, the state alleges.

In order to expand his patient base and increase his revenues, Dr. Anzalone routinely registered patients who would not qualify for the MMP because they lacked a debilitating condition as defined by regulations, or fabricated debilitating conditions to qualify them, the State alleges.

Since registering for the program, Anzalone has authorized nearly 3,250 patients for medicinal marijuana. He currently has about 2,077 active patients, while most of the physicians registered with the MMP have an average of 45 patients, according to the Verified Complaint.

“We allege that Dr. Anzalone exploited his patients and the MMP for his own gain, completely disregarding the regulations meant to protect patients and promote the efficacious use of medicinal marijuana,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “By temporarily suspending Dr. Anzalone from practicing medicine, we are making it clear that we will not allow unscrupulous doctors to enrich themselves at the expense of the safety and welfare of their patients and the public.”

The New Jersey Department of Health, which administers the MMP, will provide assistance to patients affected by Anzalone’s temporary suspension.

“The Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana Program will assist patients who need help transitioning to a new physician,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “Patients can search for a participating physician by county on our website or call our customer service unit at 609-292-0424 for assistance in finding physicians.”

The Medicinal Marijuana Program was established under New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, a law that offers legal protection to individuals who are seriously ill and require marijuana as an alternative treatment for certain, defined, qualifying conditions.

Under regulations promulgated by the DOH and the Board, physicians are required to register with the DOH to participate in the MMP. Participating physicians must have an active New Jersey medical license issued by the Board of Medical Examiners, an active Controlled Dangerous Substance registration, and a bona fide relationship with participating patients. Participating physicians – there are currently 865 – are authorized to certify patients with certain medical conditions to receive marijuana at one of the six dispensaries permitted by the MMP.

Anzalone, who specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology, was among the first doctors to register for the MMP program and has since limited his practice to the MMP.

The Enforcement Bureau of the Division of Consumer Affairs opened an investigation into Anzalone and his practice based on a referral from DOH following the MMP’s receipt of numerous consumer complaints against him.

The State alleges that undercover State investigators posing as patients seeking medicinal marijuana, as well as several actual patients who had made complaints about Anzalone, confirmed that the doctor “practices with little regard for patient privacy, and in a manner inconsistent with the bona fide physician-patient relationship requirement,” according to the Verified Complaint.

According to the Verified Complaint, Anzalone failed to comply with MMP regulations in his treatment of four actual patients and two undercover investigators posing as patients by, among other things:

  • providing a certification and written instructions to a patient for the medical use of marijuana with whom he does not maintain a bona fide physician-patient relationship;
  • failing to perform a comprehensive medical history and physical examination of the patient to determine if that patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition qualifying him or her to receive medicinal marijuana;
  • failing to assess the patient’s qualifying condition at least every three months; and
  • failing to keep accurate and complete records pertaining to his medical marijuana treatment.

Under the terms of the Interim Consent Order, Anzalone is prohibited from registering new patients into the MMP or beginning any new treatment in any specialty of medicine, including Obstetrics and Gynecology, during the 30-day wind down period.

During the wind-down, he may provide only one 30-day medicinal marijuana renewal to existing patients who are due for renewals within the wind-down period, and only after he conducts an in-person, private physical examination of the patient to ensure that the medicinal marijuana renewal is medically necessary and appropriate for the patient’s MMP qualifying debilitating condition. He also must create records, according to MMP and Board regulations, documenting these encounters, and including findings that support his decision to renew medicinal marijuana. Anzalone is prohibited from increasing fees for these consultations beyond his customary $100 charge.

During the wind-down period Anzalone also must cooperate with the DOH in transitioning patients who wish to continue MMP care to other MMP registered physicians, including informing his patients that he is temporarily barred from the MMP.

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North Group 5 State Championship Today At MetLife Stadium Ridgewood vs Piscataway

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ ,The North Group 5 title is on the line when Ridgewood and Piscataway meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
At 12-0, Piscataway is considered perhaps the best public school team in New Jersey. They have rolled through the season winning games by an average of 33 points.
The 9-2 Maroons have won six straight, including a dominating performance against Montclair to win their fifth sectional title two weeks ago.

North Group 5 State Championship  game will take place this Saturday, December 1 at 10:00 AM at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Go Maroons!

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VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018

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VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018
8:00 P.M.
1. Call to Order – Mayor
2. Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act
3. Roll Call – Village Clerk
4. Flag Salute and Moment of Silence
5. Acceptance of Financial Reports
6. Approval of Minutes
7. Proclamations
NONE
8. Comments from the Public (Not to exceed 3 minutes per person – 40 minutes in total)
9. Village Manager’s Report
10. Village Council Reports
11. ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION – RIDGEWOOD WATER
NONE
12. ORDINANCES – PUBLIC HEARING – RIDGEWOOD WATER
NONE
13. RESOLUTIONS – RIDGEWOOD WATER

Continue reading VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018

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Street Smart NJ targets speed, distractedness and safety awareness for drivers and pedestrians ahead of Halloween

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file photo by Boyd Loving

the staff of the Ridgewood

Rutherford NJ, The Borough of Rutherford kicked off a month-long Street Smart NJ campaign on Monday, October 22, to raise awareness of pedestrian safety ahead of Halloween, when thousands of children will take to the streets to trick-or-treat.

The campaign is a collaborative effort between Borough officials, EZ Ride Transportation Management Association and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), which coordinates the Street Smart NJ program. Local police will be enforcing pedestrian-related laws in Rutherford and working with Borough officials and the school district to educate everyone about safe driving and walking practices.

Continue reading Street Smart NJ targets speed, distractedness and safety awareness for drivers and pedestrians ahead of Halloween

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Rutherford Voters Reject Proposed $53M Vanity Schools Referendum

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Rutherford NJ, according to Matthew Gibson,  this referendum was not to “fix schools” it was to make superficial changes like a taxpayer funded turf field for lacrosse and do things which would not affect education at all.

Gibson commented ,”They wanted to spend $53 million, of which about approximately $0 was for education. $5 million to literally bulldoze the high school poll, another $5 million to replace it with a new cafeteria. $2.5 million to turf some open space behind the HS, $3+ million to remove a playground and my personal favorite building new chemistry labs without windows which is totally safe”

Referendum Rejected

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The Rutherford community has voted to reject the proposed $53M referendum to improve our school facilities. While this is a disappointing result, we still need to provide adequate space for our growing enrollment and create environments to support our students academically. We will examine our plan to determine if there is a less encompassing alternative that could still give us more classroom space and make the district compliant with federal and state mandates, even if it does not fulfill all of our needs.

Thank you to all of the voters who became informed and supported the proposal.

Sincerely,

Jack Hurley, Superintendent of Schools

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Bergen Judge Orders Former East Rutherford Republican off the Democratic Ballot

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

East Rutherford NJ, The Record newspaper reported on Friday, September 28, 2018 that East Rutherford Councilman Jeffrey Lahullier will not be allowed on November’s ballot, and local Democrats will have only one candidate for two open council seats this election.

A Superior Court judge ruled Friday in favor of Republican council candidate Joel Brizzi in his suit against Lahullier, the Bergen County Clerk and the East Rutherford Democratic County Committee to block the incumbent’s candidacy.

Continue reading Bergen Judge Orders Former East Rutherford Republican off the Democratic Ballot

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NJ Transit : Beginning Sunday, October 14th, select trains will be temporarily discontinued or have changes of origin/destination.

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  Progress continues on the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment on NJ TRANSIT’s rail fleet to meet federal year-end milestones, requiring NJ TRANSIT to make a final set of rail service adjustments. The temporary discontinuation of some trains and modified times and origin/destination points are necessary to accommodate installation of PTC hardware on additional locomotives and cab control cars.

“Our customers will always be our first priority, and their experience must be safe and consistent. We thoughtfully reviewed all trains that are part of this adjustment and found the most reasonable alternatives,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett.

To proactively address the potential service adjustment impacts, NJ TRANSIT will offer a 10-percent discount on all NJ TRANSIT rail tickets and passes for travel in November, December and January while the mandated hardware installation is completed.

Continue reading NJ Transit : Beginning Sunday, October 14th, select trains will be temporarily discontinued or have changes of origin/destination.

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Judge Issues TRO Halting Bergen County Ballot Printing; Republicans Vow To Fight County Democratic Machine Trying to Muscle A Candidate On To The East Rutherford Ballot

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

East Rutherford NJ, The Bergen County Republican Organization Chairman Jack Zisa said his organization is supporting the efforts of East Rutherford Republicans Joel Brizzi and Tom Banca to keep turncoat Councilman Jeff Lahullier off the November ballot after the County Clerk’s office reversed itself on the validity of Lahullier’s candidacy.

Continue reading Judge Issues TRO Halting Bergen County Ballot Printing; Republicans Vow To Fight County Democratic Machine Trying to Muscle A Candidate On To The East Rutherford Ballot

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Ridgewood Teachers 8th Highest Paid in Bergen County and 31st Highest Paid in the Garden State

photo courtesy of the NEA

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The state Department of Education recently released its annual Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending for 2018, which shows the median salary in every New Jersey school district and charter school.

Continue reading Ridgewood Teachers 8th Highest Paid in Bergen County and 31st Highest Paid in the Garden State

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OPIOID TOWN HALL TO BE HOSTED BY BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Rutherford NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announces the second in a series of quarterly Community Conversations to be held in Bergen County. Members of the community are invited to attend a town hall meeting titled “Athletes, Injuries, and Pain: A Discussion of Alternatives to Opioids” on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at Rutherford High School.

Continue reading OPIOID TOWN HALL TO BE HOSTED BY BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2018