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3 Reasons Drug Dealers Better For NJ Medical Marijuana Patients

1:55 pm in Uncategorized by michael hayne

Pot leaf

Restrictive medical marijuana policies leave New Jersey residents relying on drug dealers.

A couple years after New Jersey joined 18 states in allowing medical marijuana, Governor Christie has been trying to severely weaken if not downright nullify the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, a final act of power by outgoing Governor Corzine. Governor Christie has created bureaucratic hurdles that have brought medical marijuana to its very knees, begging for mercy. Christie has been waging a very public war on education in NJ, but he’s also been waging a more subtle and smaller war on medical marijuana as well.

So here are three reasons why it’s better for NJ medical marijuana patients to go to pot dealers:

1. Unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles with no end in sight for people already under considerable stress. The state requires all patients “develop an ongoing relationship” with a doctor who specializes in palliative care. This relationship must be established over the course of four in-person appointments. Usually patients are too infirm to jump through all of these hoops, so that means that either a spouse or partner will have to help out. But the state requires that both the applicant intending on using the medical marijuana apply for identification cards as well as the spouse or partner, Further, one as a patient and one as a caretaker, which can cost upwards of $200. 

2. Excessive costs.  One 64 year old woman of Cliffside Park evidently had to drop $200 for an ID card and $500 in doctor’s bills (insurance won’t cover ‘experimental treatment’) and yet she’s barely even been able to get on the waiting list at the state’s only licensed dispensary that’s naturally swamped. Hence this explains why Suzzete Roberts of Cliffside Park is deciding to go through a good old reliable dealer since it’s way cheaper and expeditious. Roberts has stage 4 breast cancer and simply cannot wait. But there are many more who share Roberts’ frustration. For example,  Jersey City resident, whose wife was suffering from a rare form of cancer, also decided that it was easier to get it illegally than face the costs and asphyxiating bureaucracy. under Christie’s medical marijuana program. 

3. Registration fees and Sales Tax. According to a Star Ledger Analysis, New Jersey is tied for second for the costliest registration fee ($200 for two years), has the third-highest sales tax (7 percent) and the steepest marijuana prices, according to state and dispensary websites. Further, it can cost $700 for an ID card and an measly ounce of marijuana for a patient to just get started, compared with $300 in Colorado, $510 in Washington, D.C., $531 in Arizona, and $460 in Michigan. (NJ.com)

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Vermont Joins 17 States After Voting To Decriminalize Marijuana

3:35 pm in Uncategorized by michael hayne

Close-up of high quality cannabis

Vermont decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Vermont is already notorious for being a state to get syrup and smoke weed, so it might as well official decriminalize pot. Syrup is  still legal, but it doesn’t produce nearly the amount of benefits (or fun) that marijuana does.

On Tuesday, Vermont’s Senate voted  to approve legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, thus making it a simple fine rather than a misdemeanor and further strain on taxpayers. It seems the measure already passed the House in April. Vermont now joins the fifteen other evolved states that have since decriminalized non-medicinal marijuana use.

Under current law, an individual possessing up to an ounce in Vermont can be incarcerated for up to six months. So sorry private-prison builders: this now means that we won’t be able to make all of you even richer by tossing non-violent, law-abiding adults into your already ridiculously overcrowded prisons. Better still, the measure will free up police resources and allow them to actually focus on legit crime, as opposed to chasing after people in Birkenstocks for possessing the non-lethal plant. And with recent polls showing a whopping 61 percent of support for decriminalization  the leaders of Vermont–unlike the lobbyist in-training mannequins in Washington–actually heeded the will of the people.

The measure still requires another vote, but it’s mostly seen as simple technicality before it goes to the desk of  Governor Peter Shumlin who has promised to sign it.

Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliated Cagle Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab if you love political humor from a progressive point-of-view. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.

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‘Cruel Bureaucracy’ of Medical Marijuana Law Forces Sick, Frustrated Patients to Find Another Way

10:53 am in Uncategorized by michael hayne

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally written for NewJerseyNewsroom.com and can be found here)

A couple years after New Jersey joined 18 states in allowing medical marijuana, Governor Christie has been trying to severely weaken if not downright nullify the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, a final act of power by outgoing Governor Corzine. Governor Superfleece has created bureaucratic hurdles that have brought medical marijuana to its very knees, begging for mercy.

“At this point, I’ve given up. I’ve given up any hope of getting help from the state through legal channels. I’ll just get what my wife needs illegally.”  (Hudson Reporter)

These were the very pointed words of a Jersey City resident, who did not want to be identified and who delivered them from a waiting room last week at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where his wife was undergoing her second round of chemotherapy. Just a couple days after Hurricane Sandy and barely two weeks before Thanksgiving, this resident’s wife was hit with even more bad news as she was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer, a very rare form of the disease that affects the thin tissue that lines the abdominal organs. Since immediate surgery was not an option, her doctors initially attempted to shrink her tumors with a nine-session round of chemotherapy, which would then be followed with surgery and a second round of cancer-fighting drugs. Obviously this intense treatment was considerably debilitating, as her husband says she dropped weight fast since she was so nauseous and unable to eat.

“I was getting concerned because, of course, all of this was going to be followed by surgery and we had to be sure she would be strong enough to go through with that,” said her husband.  (Hudson Reporter)

The husband then decided that he would get her enrolled in New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program to receive a prescription of pot. Since marijuana has been proven time and time again to help remedy the side effects from chemotherapy, he figured that the pot would reduce her nausea and start building up her appetite.

And here is where Christie’s ridiculously trying bureaucracy came to pass. If only she could’ve treated her ailments with an AR-15.

According to the law, his wife was required to “develop an ongoing relationship” with a doctor who specializes in palliative care. This relationship must be established over the course of four in-person appointments, which this couple did with palliative specialist Dr. Perry Stein of Montclair. And since medical insurance won’t cover such experimental treatment, the couple had to pay for these appointments out-of-pocket, according to the husband.

“That first appointment was 175 bucks. After that, the appointments were 100 bucks each. We then had to pay to get fingerprinted. And that was, like, $75. I was trying to do this thing right.” (Hudson Reporter)

And here’s where things got even worse for the couple. It seems that she was given an account number, a requirement for getting the prescription pot. But outrageously enough, the state required both of them to get identification cards that cost $205.40 each. By law, his wife is required to have an ID card as the patient, and he is required to have one as her caretaker.

“It’s been very frustrating for patients,” said Ken Wolski, CEO of the New Jersey chapter of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, who is also a registered nurse. “We’ve heard terrible stories of people jumping through hoops to get registered and getting an ID card, but then not being able to get marijuana to treat their symptoms. And many of these people are just suffering needlessly.” (Hudson Reporter)

Totally vexed and frustrated, the husband said “It’s really a shame how this has turned out. “This is something that really would have been beneficial for my wife.” And after trying to do everything the right way but getting slammed by Christie’s cruel bureaucracy, the husband just figured that it would be easier to get it illegally.

 Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliated Cagle Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab if you love political humor from a progressive point-of-view. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong. Read the rest of this entry →

My Appearance on Nat Geo Special ‘Drugged: High on Marijuana’

2:22 pm in Uncategorized by michael hayne

So I was recently featured in National Geographic’s  pot documentary, “High On Marijuana,”– widely criticized in the cannabis community for its alarmist portrayal of the herb – with reassaurances that it  would be an impartial, wholly scientific look at cannabis. Well, I can confidently say that the special was flagrantly misleading editing, fox news style broken logic with unsubstantiated assumptions, fear-mongering, and fallacious reasoning and nothing more than a heaping pile of balder(h)ash. Moreover, it made Fox News look like the BBC and, in fact, not even Fox News president Roger Ailes himself could’ve distorted so quickly and blindly.

I mean, it was hard for me to seriously think this was a scientific special when I heard the narrator describe the onset of marijuana’s effects as like “herbal terrorists taking over the brain”?! I guess one can infer that smoking marijuana is killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and that it was a bong that hijacked American jets and flew them into the WTC and Pentagon?? It’s just SO obvious!!!

At any rate,  I was approached to make an appearance on National Geographic documentary on marijuana in which was to show myself smoking, having me explain the effects it has on my comedic creativity and medical relief, and that all this would be properly explained and substantiated by expert testimony.

They even shot myself doing a little stand-up on the ridiculousness of our social attitudes towards pot and the inanity of the federal War On Drugs.I frequently made mention of my official diagnosed Anxiety Disorder several times during the shoot and yet it did not show up in the piece.

Instead, the marketing ‘geniuses’ over at Nat Geo–who I suppose double as Fox News fact-checkers during the day–cleverly edited my shoot to make me look like an irresponsible stoner who is going to die. Of course, one should engage in such salubrious activities as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and eating whatever the hell Jimmy Dean makes.

Of course, one should engage in such salubrious activities as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and eating whatever the hell Jimmy Dean makes.

With about 10% of U.S. prisoners  serving time for marijuana-related charges and a fruitless was costing Americans $1 billion dollars a year, I agreed to to do this under the promise that no cheap shots would be taken, I wouldn’t be depicted as some lazy stoner, and the science would be accurate and value-neutral.

It was neither ‘scientific’ nor ‘value-neutral, which confounded me since Nat Geo has presented previous specials on marijuana in a fair and impartial manner. Who knows, maybe the good people at Merck and Eli Lilly threw buckets of cash at them

As the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, says with regards to marijuana:

“The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.

Many in the cannabis community seem to agree with me on the suspicion of Nat Geo’s funding for the project.

According to one observer of the scene,”National Geographic probably got grants from either a private entity who favors the status quo (i.e., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Johnson & Johnson fame), or governmental (NIDA, NIH, SAMHSA, ONDCP, etc.) to produce this expensive series on ‘drugs.’ ”

In short, it was quite upsetting to see such a credible outfit as Nat Geo take such a decidedly uninformed and slippery direction on the issue of marijuana use.