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NJ Department of Health Announces Medical Marijuana Rule Changes


pthe staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The New Jersey Department of Health today announced amended medical marijuana rules that establish standards by which the Department implements the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The rule changes follow the Department’s recommended regulatory actions in response to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order #6, which charged the Department with reviewing all aspects of the program to expand access and eliminate bureaucratic barriers.

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NJ Court Rules Ridgewood Business Could Not Fire Medical Pot Patient For Failing Drug Tests


the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Ridgewood NJ, A New Jersey appeals court rules employers cannot fire employees who take medical marijuana and fail a drug test.The New Jersey court ruling says marijuana patients are protected under the state Law Against Discrimination as long as they aren’t high on the job.

The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by Justin Wild, a former funeral director in Ridgewood who took medical cannabis to manage pain caused by cancer.

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New Jersey Could be Devastated by Irresponsible Recreational Marijuana Laws

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK NJ, Ronald L. Rice, State Senator of New Jersey’s 28th District, centered in one of the state’s urban areas most vulnerable to the impact of recreational marijuana legalization, today issued the following statement on the ill-conceived strategy of tie-barring three pieces of marijuana legislation:

I once again seek to be the voice of reason in this nonsensical legislative wrangling of pivotal marijuana legislation.  I do so because we are at the crossroads of a decision that will change the face of New Jersey forever.  We are not talking about Colorado or another state with a vast expanse of open land.  Our state has the densest population per square mile in the nation.  It sits between two major metropolitan centers, is streaked with high speed turnpikes and parkways and carpeted with urban areas and their suburbs where families could be devastated by irresponsible recreational marijuana laws.

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon Says Medical Marijuana is Separate Issue from Adult use of Recreation Marijuana

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Taking significant, historic steps toward setting regulation of adult use cannabis, strengthening the state’s medical marijuana program, expanding expungement laws to include expedited services for residents.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon said legislation fixing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program shouldn’t be tied to the fate of a separate effort to legalize the adult use of recreation marijuana.

“If we truly believe that our medical marijuana program exists to ease the suffering of very sick patients, we shouldn’t tie efforts to improve the program to the outcome of a vote on recreational use,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Unfortunately, it seems likely that the very real needs of medical marijuana patients will continue to be held hostage by the supporters of full legalization, who insist that the very different pieces of legislation must live or die together on the floor of the Legislature. It’s despicable.”

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April 20, or 4/20, is known by many as “Weed Day”


April 20,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, April 20, or 4/20, is known by many as “Weed Day” in some circles because the date corresponds with a numerical code for marijuana. There are many legends and rumors as to where the name came from .

However one thing is true for Garden Stater’s it was first reported by The Star-Ledger’s Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran in a Sunday column arguing passionately for legalization. Joseph Rudy Rullo, a declared Republican candidate for New Jersey governor in 2017, also supports marijuana legalization.

Rullo claimed this morning that ,”420k revenue in the first quarter after recreational marijuana is passed when I’m Governor in 2018 will give new meaning to this day!”

Today many 4/20 supporters celebrate the day with events being held all over the country .

In Toronto, Canadian medical marijuana hub Lift will be out providing tokens for free rides on public transit on 4/20 to promote safe travel to those celebrating the holiday.

HIGH TIMES is hosting a Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, California, April 21-23, which will include major musical acts like Wu-Tang Clan and A$AP Ferg, vendors, exhibitions, and much more.

The first-ever Bud Drop will countdown to 4:20 on 4/20 at a party in San Francisco. The event is hosted by greenRush, a cannabis delivery marketplace, which was founded by two people with years of previous experience behind New Year’s event promotion.

In New Jersey, the East Coast Cannabis Coalition will be holding a rally at Trenton City Hall (319 East State St.) at 2 p.m. followed by a march (leisurely, we presume) to the State House at 2:30 p.m., with a rally for marijuana legalization there followed by a smoke-out at 4:20 p.m.

Four states now permit the recreational use of marijuana, with certain restrictions, including age: Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, plus Washington, D.C., while other states have removed jail time for possessing of small amounts of marijuana, including New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Massachusetts. And 23 states permit the use of medical marijuana, including New Jersey.

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N.J. attorneys ask the court to ‘reclassify’ pot as a less dangerous drug


Updated: NOVEMBER 30, 2016 — 11:59 PM EST

by Jan Hefler, Staff Writer

Now that New Jersey has had a medical marijuana program in place for nearly seven years, shouldn’t the state change the decades-old classification of marijuana as one of the most dangerous and reviled drugs, one without any medicinal benefit?

That question was posed to a state appeals panel Tuesday on behalf of two plaintiffs – an inmate serving a life sentence for drug trafficking and a Maple Shade teenager who uses medical marijuana to control epileptic seizures.

After listening to the arguments, the three-judge panel in Trenton said it would release an opinion later.

Newark lawyers Joseph Linares and Marc Haefner of the Walsh Firm contend it is inconsistent for the state to have a medical marijuana program and a classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a category that includes heroin. Cocaine and other addictive drugs fall into Schedule II and III and are considered less harmful than marijuana, the lawyers argued.

State Deputy Attorney General Jodi Krugman opposed changing the classification, noting that the federal government classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug in 1970 and has repeatedly turned down petitions to assign it a new designation, most recently last summer. “Other states with medical marijuana programs have not rescheduled marijuana,” she said.

Linares, however, said state law requires the director of consumer affairs to review the classifications of controlled drugs and make changes “when appropriate” and without deference to the federal classification.

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With opioid addiction rising, experts eye medical marijuana


By   /   May 31, 2016

 DRUG SWITCH: People addicted to opioids in Vermont may soon have the ability to use medical marijuana to combat their addiction.

With opioid addiction increasing at alarming rates, leaders are open to new ideas, including the use of medical marijuana to help mitigate the crisis.

“People are looking for creative solutions here,” said Kalev Freeman, a medical doctor who studies medicinal marijuana at the Phytoscience Institute in Montpelier. “Whether you are in Hardwick or Rutland or Burlington, we are seeing this all over the state, and really all over New England.”

According to the Vermont Department of Health, the number of people treated for prescription opioid abuse between 2010 and 2014 went up about 52 percent, from 1,946 to 2,971. During that same period, those receiving treatment for heroin abuse went up over 262 percent, from 623 to 2,258.

The numbers do not account for untreated drug abuse. According to a VTDigger special report in February, Chittenden County alone had 300 people waiting for treatment, with wait times averaging one year. The treatment is costly too: over $13 million in tax payer money was budgeted to fight the opioid epidemic in 2015.

Freeman, who is board-certified in emergency medicine, frequently sees the worst of the opioid crisis from inside emergency rooms.

“It’s gotten worse,” he said. “I moved here from Boston eight years ago, and I remember when I was working in their city hospital we saw a lot of heroin overdoses. When I moved to Vermont I said, ‘Well this is great, we won’t have this problem in Vermont.’ (But) over the last eight years it’s increased dramatically. It’s really different working today from seven or eight years ago.”

Freeman says he is seeing  opioid addicts turn to medical marijuana for help on their own initiative, and with some success.

“(The medical marijuana program) has been going on for about three years now, and over those years we have seen this group of patients who are using opioids already for chronic pain being referred to the medical marijuana dispensaries, and they are asking for help for getting off of pain meds.”

While medical marijuana use is commonly used to help alleviate chronic pain, Gov. Peter Shumlin is expected to sign a bill to broaden the scope of medical marijuana use which, according to Freeman’s interpretation, should include opioid addicts. It will not include clinical trials on patients due to FDA restrictions, but entities like Phytoscience will be able to experiment with the medical strains within their laboratories.

Willy Cats-Baril, a University of Vermont business professor and colleague of Freeman’s at Phytoscience Institute, says the bill will not only open up the market, but also expand the scope of research allowed.

“We were very happy about S.14,” said Cats-Baril. “Vermont has maybe the strictest medical marijuana program in the country. Comparatively speaking, the percentage of Vermonters that are on a medical marijuana program is the lowest in the country.”

He echoed Freeman’s sentiment that opioid addiction is an urgent situation.

“This opium epidemic is killing, I think, 1,500 people a year in New Hampshire. This is serious stuff,” Cats-Baril said. “Politicians are taking their head out of the sand here and addressing it because it is becoming a real major issue that is draining a tremendous amount of resources.”

State Rep. Chip Troiano, D-Stannard, a member of the House Committee on Human Services, has been advocating for better treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction. He acknowledged the avenue of using marijuana.

“I guess ‘treatment’ is the key word, because there are many who would say it’s not treatment, but … is kind of supplanting one substance use for another that is less damaging,” Troiano said.

“I think we should be ready to put any tool in the box that we can. It’s a real problem and we are spending tons of money on it. Anything that may have a positive impact on the treatment, I would support it.”

Contact Michael Bielawski at

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Facebook shuts down medical marijuana pages in New Jersey



Three of New Jersey’s five medical marijuana dispensaries have had their business pages shutdown by Facebook, cutting off what advocates call an integral place for customers to learn about which plant strains best treat their illness and where to find discounts. Associated Press Read more