You may or may not be aware that we have been attending protests in front of the Statehouse in Trenton, NJ. Our goal? Access. While the two things may not be connected, we scored a meeting with teh State Department of Health. Jim Miller explains what transpired:
I apologize for not summing up the gist of Thursday's meeting with Dr. Arturo Brito (NJ Deputy Commissioner of Health), Robert Schwaneberg (Policy Advisor for Health Care, Office of the Governor), and Jeanne Ashmore, (Director of Community and Constituent Relations, Office of the Governor. Jennie, Ken and I covered a lot of ground. Not being able to record the meeting left us with making notes and our individual recolliections as our only way of debriefing afterwards. I will start covering areas of concern discussed at the meeting in comments below. Ken Wolski and Jennie Stormes can add to the list as it unfolds. below.
WE DID formally suggest forming a volunteer (no cost to NJ tax payers) advisory panel to identify problems within the medical marijuana regulations and offer recommendations for remediation. I handed them a written version for them to assess. It suggested one seat on that panel being for Jennie and one for the CMMNJ (Ken). Fill in the rest any way they want. I explained that I can go back to CMMNJ blogs and show that we predicted what problems would be arising and we were right. And that those problems could have been prevented with transparency including coalescing with the Coalition. Many other things were brought up. More to come. Better to list them individually over a small period of time for ease of assimilation.
Ken has a steadier hand than I do apparently. Sorry for the blurry picture. I asked if we could get a picture of all six of us involved in the meeting, and was told no. Seriously, why would the NJ Deputy Commissioner of the Dept. of Health, the Policy Advisor for Health Care for the Office of Gov. Christie, and the Director of Community and Constituent Relations for the Governor's Office NOT want pictures of them meeting with organizations and/or individuals with concerns about medical marijuana state regulations? When they don't want those pictures to lend credibility to the subject of that meeting...which would then prompt questions from the media or the public about the meeting. So...why would they not want to talk about having a meeting with us? Well...probably because they don't want to talk about the things that were brought up. And WHY would they NOT want to talk to anybody else about what was discussed at this meeting? Because THEY were not the ones at that table with the winning hand.
Bottom line? Politicians being politicians. We need to bring the power of numbers to bear. Please consider joining us this, and every, Thursday, until all of those who can benefit from this medicine have access. Every Thursday at the Statehouse in Trenton. Permit runs from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.