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The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey

From the pen of Terry Stern

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 Terry is a member of the Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, NJ.  He has submitted the following for your enjoyment (and, hopefully, to motivate your activism):

The Infamously Unknown Weeyallnoe Foundation

 

There are people, Bill O’Reilly and Chris Christie among them, who point to California and Colorado and say, “Pot bad. Case closed,” O’Reilly with the condescending smirk of a 7th grader who’s just seen his rival caught masturbating in the lunch room, Christie with the look of a parent about to ground us for a month.

 

These are charismatic people, and, if you’re standing face-to-face with one, it’s hard not to turn purple and stammer. But we can remember that here, in a calm place, not worried about whether we look fat or sound stupid, only thinking about what makes rational sense, we have this single, unshakable truth:

 

Every bit and scrap of their proof has been debunked as fraud or proven to reflect the misuse of study data.

 

Everything they serve up is either smokescreen or red herring. No matter how eloquently or compulsively they insist, their arguments are standing on air.

 

Ours are grounded. 

 

Even if an opponent is quicker on her feet, she cannot spin proof out of clouds. The constant, inexorable march of truth is on our side. If you can’t think of anything else to say, “Smoke and mirrors,” or “your proof does not stand up to scrutiny,” will do. Just wash, rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. 

 

These folks rely on a little-known institute of social science research in the United States called the Weeyallnoe Foundation. Though little known, it has a reputation which proudly befits its fame.

 

The social conservatives quote its findings all the time. They state them as a series of citations, such as, “Weeyallnoe: marijuana leads to dangerous paranoia” and “Weeyallnoe: if we legalize marijuana, our children will become fat, unemployed, addicted schizophrenics.” “Weeyallnoe: multiple studies prove this.”

 

For a wonderful rundown of Weeyallnoe pronouncements, watch Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) speak against an amendment which would stop DEA marijuana enforcement on medical marijuana dispensaries in states with cannabis laws. Though recorded in 2012, the arguments are basically the same, although support for them is eroding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OShxW9tta0&list=PL71467B9C3DD67CAE

 

Of course, “we all know” there is no Weeyallnoe Foundation.  Weeyallnoe is simply the pseudo-scientific justification used by people out of touch with the real science and sociology when they attempt to justify irrational positions on marijuana prohibition.

 

The single source of weight and power of these “we all know” arguments is the emotion behind their expression. When they speak of their own, inaccurate portrait of the impact of drugs, their faces glow with religious zeal and terror. When they speak of ours, they smirk in disgust or sneer in stern disapproval.

 

When faced with an opposing view, I have found an empathetic response like this useful: “I know this is scary, and I understand it means giving up things you’ve believed in all you life, but people are dying as we stand unable to decide about cannabis, and we can’t make this decision on feeling alone. We must let science speak for itself.“

 

And when that tanks, “Hey, shit-for-brains: quit your verbal masturbation and throw a towel over it.”  But this rarely works.

 

Here’s a rundown of the Honorable Mr. Wolf’s (R-VA) Weeyallnoe-backed arguments :

 

States’ Rights:

     Weeyallnoe: if states passed laws permitting sexual trafficking of minors, we would be compelled to intervene. This is the same thing.

 

     Response: smokescreen. We would also expect the Federal authority to step in should Alabama develop a nuclear bomb. But what does that have to do with medical cannabis? The kindest thing to be said about the Congressman’s disfigured analogy comparing medical cannabis with child pornography is that it is disingenuous. No matter how many minor sex slaves you may have, Congressman Wolf, they, unlike cannabis, will never be able to kill the cancer cells in your brain.

 

Medical Oversight:

     Weeyallnoe: many of these “dispensaries” are fronts for illegal dope sales.

 

     Response: and we all know many bars and liquor stores are fronts for illegal sales to minors. But you have no more reliable statistics for you claim than I have for mine.

 

     Weeyallnoe: we can’t count on doctors to be honest. There are pain clinics in Florida where bus-loads of people arrive every day to get prescriptions for oxycontin, and people get addicted and die.

 

     Response: you have made an argument for medical cannabis. Not only does it work more effectively with fewer unwanted effects than pharmaceuticals, it is the only medication effective against serious conditions which cannot kill no matter the size of the overdose. Oxy, as you say, kills people every day.

 

Medical Legitimacy:

     Weeyallnoe: marijuana has absolutely no recognized medical value in the US.

 

     Response: it is interesting how he adds, “in the US,” as if once across the Canadian border marijuana has wonderful medical effects just not so on the US side. There are hundreds of studies published since 1837 contradicting this assertion.  For the past decade, studies from Israel, Luxemburg, Italy, Spain, England, California, Colorado, et al, plus the recent unmasking of DEA evidence belies this claim in no uncertain terms. It is simply untrue.  

 

Social Danger:

 

     Weeiyallnoe: allowing medical cannabis increases the profits of Mexican drug cartels.

 

     Response: only because we ban its cultivation here.

 

     Weeyallnoe: letting our 15-year-olds see medical marijuana stores in our communities is an invitation to them to start using it.

 

     Response: in the way bars and liquor stores encourage them to drink or tobacco stores urge them to smoke? What do Victoria’s Secrets stores in malls invite our 15-year-olds to do?

 

     Weeyallnoe: marijuana is highly addictive and shows immense potential for abuse.

 

     Response: red herring. There is no proof of that. These are DEA claims based on evidence collected by Harry J. Anslinger in the 1930s to persuade Congress to outlaw marijuana, the “corrupting drug” being brought here by the “inferior races” (Mexicans and Black jazz musicians). All DEA proofs have been publicly debunked as fraudulent. In fact, they were simply made up by someone trying to rig proof to manipulate folks into believing hemp was evil.

 

     Weeyallnoe: there is substantial proof that marijuana causes cancer, brain damage, IQ loss and schizophrenia.

 

     Response: there is no proof marijuana causes cancer, brain damage, IQ loss and schizophrenia. Studies claiming to prove the first two charges were made up. They were never conducted. Studies claiming to prove the last two were shown to prove only coincidence, not causality.

 

     Weeyallnoe: marijuana is a gateway drug.

 

     Response: in the only study which exists on the matter, marijuana use was found to offer no indication of the potential for future hard drug abuse. Alcohol and tobacco use were more likely gateways.

 

     Weeyallnoe: reducing enforcement on this dangerous substance is a wrong message to the youth.

 

     Response: what message does it send our youth to waste $15 billion per year on enforcement which has negative results year after year, mounting up a debt which they will likely be called upon to resolve? What message does it send our youth that the substances we will permit can kill you while the one we prohibit can’t?

 

     Weeyallnoe: there is more danger of traffic accidents when people drive stoned than when they drive intoxicated.

 

     Response: now you’re just making stuff up.

Christie's Town Hall Meetings

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As you may be aware, our Governor has taken to the streets... and we've been there.



Watch South River here.

paula joana's testimony

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 On Thursday, February 20, 2014, the new chair of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee invited CMMNJ to participate in a fact-finding meeting aimed at finding out what is STILL wrong with the CUMMA law and its implementation.  Asm. Reed Gusciora held the meeting to hear patient's and family member's testimony as to which improvements still need to be made to the law.  Among those who testified was the dispensaries' spokesman, Michael Weiser; Marianne Bays; attorney Anne Davis; CMMNJ Executive Director Ken Wolski; CMMNJ board member Peter Rosenfeld; patient Stephen Cuspilich; Stephanie Joynes-Pierce; written testimony by Jennie Stormes, mother of minor-child Jaxs, who has Dravet Syndrome; and a DOH spokesperson who read a prepared statement and left the room quickly after the reading was over.

Is there a name missing from that list?  There is.  Please watch the following video, where Paula Joana delivers her testimony.  Trust me when I say there wasn't a dry eye in the place.  Much credit to Mrs. Joana, who battled back her own tears and showed true courage to fight for other kids in the state in memory of her Sabina Rose.
 

Paula Joana's testimony before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee.

It's LAW, baby!

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 Recently, our efforts appear to be gaining traction. We have asked for, and received, an amendment to the guidelines (as law) to abolish the three strain limit (dispensaries can grow what they want, and better serve the patient), and allow for a simpler approach to treating children (such as Jennie Storms son and Meghan and Brian Wilson's daughter, in addition to Tina DeSilvia and; both of these children suffer from intractable seizures which cannabis HELPS).

If you read just the headlines, you could form the opinion that our Governor, Chris Christie, has come to his senses and determined that the scientific findings are sound enough to make policy decisions on. However, we on the front lines can offer a different opinion. Yes, the Governor has appeared to relent under pressure from his constituents. Some count this as a victory, but it is a dual-edged victory. Certainly the Governor sees the political equity in this issue. He wants to appear to be meeting the needs of his contituents. However, after repeated requests to sit down with him and educate him, it doesn't appear that such a meeting is forthcoming.

Terry Stern, a respected member of the Friends of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, NJ, had this to say in a recent op-ed: In all the flap about medical cannabis in New Jersey, a moderately plump elephant in the room is getting very little attention.

Statistics gathered from all states with medical cannabis programs show the national average of cannabis patients is 7.7 per thousand population.

There are states with as high a number as 14 per thousand and states as low as 3.

And then there’s New Jersey, which has one patient per 3,000 population. That’s like a car tracking gas usage in gallons per mile.

Unless we can show why living in New Jersey is a whole lot healthier than living anywhere else, there ought to be approximately 50,000 to 60,000 medical cannabis patients in a population this size.

Where are all the patients?

TERRY H. STERN

Pennsauken

What Mr. Stern is alluding to is that the very guidelines of the program implemented by Governor Christie is the impediment to getting patients enrolled in the program and receiving the medicine they need. Those guidelines have literally choked the life out of what would have been the strictest program in the states that have adopted medical cannabis programs. In a state with the population we have, 6 dispensaries are not enough. Currently, the one dispensary we have operating has closed its doors for lack of product. Where are the other five? Of those 1200 or so registered patients, only about 10 percent have been able to secure product under the program's guidelines, legally. So, Mr. Stern poses a very pertinent question: where are the patients? I can tell you only about my personal experience: my condition (failed back surgery, spinal cord stimulator implanted, 14 year relationship with my doctor, 10 years on narcotic pain killers) does not qualify. Nor do the vast variety of other conditions that could benefit by using cannabis. I have a prescription for Marinol, which i take 10mgs three times a day. It's fairly expensive, about $2500 per month. Why should I be relegated to take a THC-only pill when it's been scientifically proven that the other components of cannabis are much better suited to deal with pain? Because of our Governor's guidelines. Like it, or not, Governor, THIS is your program. If you had just implemented the law and not had the DHSS draw up the guidelines, you may have been able to side-step that. But, you didn't. You, in conjuction with the DHSS, have made the program unworkable. Where are the patients? We're waiting for a sign from the Governor that we will be able to get the medicine we need in a timely manner.

-- Jim Price, CMMNJ website administrator, non-qualifying patient and cannabis activist

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