Alternatives to Opioids Series Medical Marijuana

Alternatives to Opioids Series Medical Marijuana


I’m Jenny Forestal thank
you all for being here along with Dr. Claire Abernathy I’m one of the faculty
co-chairs of the Stockton American democracy project and political
engagement project I’m really happy that you are all here today this is the
latest event in our series that’s examining alternatives to opioids I’m so
today we have a really great set of panelists who are speaking to medical
marijuana as one potential alternative to opioids
so just a quick logistical notes and if you need a record of attendance today
for class or if you’re here for extra credit and we have a sign-in sheet
that’s floating around here somewhere it’s over there and if you don’t get to
it during the event don’t stress out you can see me or Dr. Abernathy and we will
sort of get you signed in another note is that we’re filming and so if you
would not move around and especially to keep the middle aisle clear so that we
can like not have heads in the way of our video that would be great thank you
so opioid use continues to represent a growing public health crisis so the
misuse and addiction of opioids including in particular prescription
painkillers or pain relievers has been increasing over the past two decades
with a particularly sharp increase evident in the last several years recent
projections suggest that opioid related deaths could reach 3,000 in the state of
New Jersey this year alone so in today’s event and we’re turning our attention to
one particular alternative to using opioids in the treatment of chronic pain
and other conditions we’re going to be focusing on medical marijuana our
panelists today we’ll discuss the effectiveness of medical marijuana as an
alternative approach to pain management and also consider current and proposed
policies to regulate marijuana for medical use and particularly sort of
placed the conversation in our local context sort of how medical marijuana
works in the state of New Jersey and so it’s my pleasure to give us started by
introducing our panel our panelists um first we have Dr. Patricia Kasica she
graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in of New Jersey
she’s been an MS Anesthesiologist
and pain management specialist for the past three thirty years um she’s been
one of the first doctors to sign up with the medical marijuana program because of
a tragedy in her own family since that time she’s known as she saw pain
patients that this could help their pain and but it wasn’t a new policy until the
new policy allowed pain patients to participate in this program that she saw
what seemed to be nothing short of a miracle patients are coming off their
opioids and still having pain relief so So Doctor Kasica has been working with
patients of all ages and with all kinds of chronic illnesses from Ceaser
seizures to PTSD since retiring from anesthesia and pain management last year
she’s been focused on medical marijuana and detoxing patients from opioids next
we have Bridgett Hill- Zayat she’s an attorney at the Hoban law group licensed
in Pennsylvania New Jersey and Maryland her practice focuses on the energy and
cannabis industry specifically she takes cannabis companies from cradle to grave
I’m starting with the incorporation and license applications through to the sale
of of marijuana she advises successful applicants on how
to improve their energy efficiency apply for state efficiency programs liaised
with regulators and handle the ongoing compliance issues relevant to the
cannabis business in particular she’s active in the legal cannabis industry
she was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leachs’ cannabis conference convened to help develop standards and methods for
cannabis regulation in Pennsylvania she regularly testifies for states like New
Jersey and Pennsylvania exploring the creation and development of legal
cannabis markets so Bridget’s work is acutely cannabis focus
she’s geared towards helping growers processors and dispensaries thrive and
she continues to engage in the legal community on issues teaching classes on
cannabis topics for lawline.com green flower media and Stockton University
where she serves as an assistant professor she also speaks at industry
events for the National cannabis bar association canevasion and women grow
and she writes articles for elevated nation Cannabiz MD and cologia last but not least we have Thomas Olah who graduated with a BS in criminal justice in 1976 from the College of New Jersey he
later graduated with a master’s in administrative science from Fairleigh
Dickinson University in 2003 he began his professional career in hospitality
industry as a senior gaming regulator in the casino control Commission in
Atlantic City in April of 1978 and retired after 28 years of service he
later became Senior Management Analyst at BearingPoint
and multinational management and technology consulting firm in McLean
Virginia he came back to the area in 2008 where he served as Project Manager
for Bally Technologies in Egg Harbor Township and he has also worked as a
Spectrum Gaming Group in Linwood as a Project Consultant Training expect
Inspectors and setting up regulatory compliance standards and gaming rules
for several national casino organizations throughout the United
States Tom began his Canada’s career in Compassionate Care Foundation of New
Jersey as a Project Manager in 2013 where he established internal control
standards and standard operating procedures for their medical marijuana
facilities shortly thereafter tom was promoted to Dispensary Manager and he
later oversaw the operation of the second medical marijuana facility to
open in New Jersey presently Tom is an adjunct instructor at Stockton
University he created the class medical marijuana in New Jersey that some of you
might be interested in taking in the fall of 2015
he’s also the CEO of TAO Consulting LLC and advises the cannabis industry in
that capacity so we’ll hear first from Patricia then followed by Brigid and
then from Thomas and then following the remarks from each panelist I’ll moderate
a brief Q&A discussion and then we will open it up for the audience to ask
whatever questions you might have so we look forward to hearing your questions
I’m so keep them in mind as you listen to our panelists I’m for now I’ll turn
things over to Dr. Kasica who will start off the remarks so as a lot of my
patients have heard the reason why I got involved in the medical marijuana
program is because 14 years ago my younger sister at age 38 was
diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer so having cancer in her bones was
extremely painful and every time she would go to the doctor they would give
her another fentanyl patch in another fentanyl patch she had
probably five of them across her back and it sedated her it made her sick she
had to illegally buy the marijuana on the street and what I found was that not
only was she able to take those patches off she didn’t go through not one day of
withdrawal which was amazing to me as you can imagine being trained in
conventional medicine for thirty years I was astounded I started to do some
research to find out how this could be and what I found was that the that the
cannabis binds to the same receptors in the brain that the opioids do and that
is why she got the pain relief as well as none of the withdrawal symptoms there
are two main components of cannabis there’s the THC which is typically
associated with the euphoric feeling the sedation and then there’s the CBD which
is the natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving component there are also
terpenes that are within the plant which also account for a lot of the medicinal
qualities the two types of plants that are that are available are Sativas which
are used mostly during the day and Indicas which are used at night they
have also made hybrid plants that have some of each component as well as very
high CBD plants that are excellent for pain relief that have so little THC that
patients that use that particular plant can actually go to work and not have any
of the euphoria involved that no sedation they get all of the relief with
none of the high the conditions that I’ve personally seen that are benefited by cannabis are multiple sclerosis seizure disorder, parkinson’s tremors, HIV, cancer glaucoma Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis,
arthritis, Tourette syndrome, PTSD cachexia, depression and autism some
cases that I’ve seen I have a 75 year old white male that has severe arthritis
he was taking 15 percocet a day he started in the cannabis program stopped
all of it cold turkey went through no withdrawal I have a 60 year old patient
who was taking ten method on tablets a day he was in a severe motorcycle
accident when he was younger and he is down to two pills a day and is getting
decent pain relief and just as an aside I have an 18 year old patient who had
very violent outbursts with Tourette syndrome who told me he was bullied for
four years in high school and decided that he was not going to go on to
college because he didn’t want to be bullied for another four years so we
decided to place him on a higher THC strain and his outburst calmed down so
much so that he is now enrolled in school it just is amazing to see some of
the cases that I’ve seen I’m even considering writing a book with some
case studies because I think the medical community is very closed-minded
some doctors anyway are as to the benefits of the cannabis on consulting
with a physician that signs up with the program the patient can discuss their
needs and recommendations can be made as far as which strains are would be most
helpful for them and depending on the levels of THC and CBD you can see the
effect and the even three months later when I follow up with them
it sometimes is amazing to see a lot of times I hear from patients who never
smoked a day in their life well how how would we take this in well at some of
the dispensaries they have lozenges they have ready-made oil you can make it into
butter cook with it there’s many ways that you can take the cannabis in to get
the good effects currently I am a provider for the cannabis program but
also I’m collaborating with PhD in biochemistry who uses natural substances
with neuro amino acids to decrease the craving for opioids as well as using the
medicinal marijuana to get them the pain relief that they need so that they don’t
turn back to the opioids in my opinion from the cases that I’ve seen this is
really the answer to the opioid crisis in America so thank you for listening so I’m Bridget Hills-Zayat I for the last
11 years I’ve been an Administrative and Energy Attorney so working with
regulated commodities I was happily plowing that route when we had a client
who was an energy supplier call us up and say we have a customer who’s using
megawatts of energy and that that is a lot of energy hmm your house doesn’t use
megawatts of energy you probably use kilowatts of energy so he asked me to go
down do a site inspection did a site inspection it was illegal grow so huge
plants everywhere and I’m a nice Catholic schoolgirl I really like those
are drugs but you know he was he was licensed he was doing everything right
except for this he was trying to keep himself under the radar and in doing so
really made a red flag like here I am and and that’s not what you want to do
he was also paying tens of thousands of dollars a month for energy which is not
something you want so I helped him bring down the cost of his grow got him
cheaper energy and then also helped him with some compliance and that just sort
of started my career in cannabis I did not have
this overwhelming love of the plant that I hear a lot of people talk about this
was you know another commodity that was actively seeking professional
representation and could not get it people I think attorneys and physicians
are very risk adverse and and don’t want to do this in a sense when I started I
was sort of committing career suicide like I knew that if I got into this I’d
be breaking federal law everyday and I do I break federal law every day as an
attorney doing this but getting to see some of the patients do so much better
and getting to see some of these businesses employee people in the State
of New Jersey and do better is really rewarding and I’m you know I don’t
regret it for a second even if my dad thinks I’m a drug lawyer which he does
but it has been incredibly eye opening and I’m so grateful because I get to see an
industry start from its inception and turn into this very professional
wonderful market it’s been nothing but a joy so happy to be here I don’t know if theirs more Um my name is Tom Olah I’m an adjunt instructor here at Stockton I’ve actually created the class Medical Marijuana New Jersey with is now its four consecutive sell out [inaudible] cannabis industry um well as a criminal justice major and anybody here in a criminal justice major um drugs are always apart of that the talk about it [inaudible] it was an anti-drug campaign and just
saying no and the Rockefeller drug laws and all this other stuff associated with
you know illegal drugs and so forth from so long which I kinda you know took an
interest to is that justice major lo and behold I ended up in the casino
business I stated made some good contacts developed a lot of insight a lot of good information but I really wanted to do something different after my tenure with the casino I said lets do something different well I’m actually an old school Gardner so to speak and my brother and I have what they call the Hungarian peasant gene which allows us to work freely with dirt laughter tremendous you know he was a plants but
cannabis was my mama jingle morning was an original graduate of the Stockton
University the first graduating class passed away of pancreatic cancer back in
I think was brought about 2010 and the had a new relationship with the time
he’s doctor take them for chemotherapy of the Fox Chase Cancer up and
Philadelphia outside of Philadelphia which is about good to her around for
where she lived that down in the more so along the way we used to talk a lot she
was very very well read about history and so forth
she’s talking about all the medication she used huge amounts of pharmaceuticals I mean
it’s every time we went there was eight or ten different prescriptions and and
she would just tell me on the way back home this doesn’t work for me this
doesn’t work for me she was taking Marinol at the time that was a synthetic
THC that was available but her biggest her biggest thing was she just couldn’t
eat and she’s you know if I could just if I could just eat she says like I
think I would feel a lot better and she just could meat and a fortune she passed
away the program was not available in Jersey at the time so then I kept
following us I saw that you know Corzine sign this medical marijuana medical
marijuana bill called The Compassionate Care Act as last day of office and I
kept looking at that and you know seeing what was going to develop with that and
it took years and years and years and I finally saw that there was a facility
open up an Egg Harbor Township I think she’s that’s my backyard we know
maybe they need somebody to work over there as a you know as a grower or just
a you know a HelpOut guy or something like that I never you know in a vision
getting the role that I did and then I applied then I actually met bill Thomas
who’s here now is our former CEO of compassionate care and and Bill hired me
as a project manager and asked me to write internal controls for the facility
which I did so we had four internal controls because we were very well
regulated by the state we had to have things exactly the way it was everything
kind of be measured in grams and so forth and from that I became dispensary
manager so I actually got to hire a lot of the growers and a lot of the people
that worked at compassionate care at the time so I got a real good feel for um
you know what it took to grow a plant indoors just not easy
so um capacity to care opens up and the first day were there and at that time
there was only one facility open and that opened in February of 2013 and that
was up in Montclair and they quickly ran out of product and they weren’t grown
anymore and people were complaining they needed to get their medicine and they
had cards that were only good for two years so the state kind of put a put a
rush on to have those patients come in first okay so we reached out to those
patients and we said you know if you’re interested capacity to care is open for
you you know you come down we would serve you so we opened up in October of
2013 but at that time there was only about 1200 patients registered an
entire program in New Jersey and that was simply because there was no doctors
prescribing it doctors weren’t interested in the program because the
names had to be published in a register and doctors just didn’t want to be
associated with marijuana or be considered to be a matter why on a
seeking doctor so consequently we we had our first group of patients we opened up
and when you saw these people walk in you kind of heart went out for because
these people were really in pain these people were really in pain they were
fentanyl patches morphine oxycontin one or two were actually going
to be in heroin addicts at the time so he came in and we sat down with them and
we discussed what their what their medical history was and and what’s
strange we know what helped them and what they were looking forward to it but
we also knew that a majority of the patients that an issue were there were
using cannabis quite regularly even though it wasn’t available legally they
had a black market that they were utilizing it so the biggest concern that
day was they wanted a place that they can was a safe place where they can go
where they weren’t going to be arrested they weren’t going to be robbed and they
knew they were going to get a good quality plant that wasn’t paper within
anyway so it gave them a great feeling that they know this is a place that if
they needed their medicine cannabis they can really get it the price was high the
program gradually got more and more doctors associated with it I think now
we’re up to 35,000 patients over 600 and some doctors prescribing now we’re on
the brink of legalization for retro recreational use melvin murphy has just
signed approved six more dispensary used to open up and they should have had
licenses that should have been issued by now but they finally found that that
they should probably investigate these people first before they order more
license because you don’t have to go back and take it away from them so it’s
kind of moving in the right direction now but it’s just one thing I could say
about cannabis is is people want to know where it comes from you know what went
into the grow this wasn’t something that something that I grew in their backyard
and to make it stronger put something on it and they just want to make and
legally buy it without being arrested or robbed someone’s not going to meet him
at behind a Wawa and do a drug deal and they’re gonna be
ripped off and so forth and so on so I think medical cannabis has really helped
a lot of people ice again people with oxycontin have have loved the idea that
they could take cannabis and not rely on those pills those pills they just
constipate them they give them aggression they just don’t feel well if
they just want the opportunity to get some alternative medicine something that
that is not synthesized something that’s natural for them so we’ve had we’ve had
good results with that so far I mean I think medical marijuana has helped a lot
of people in New Jersey unfortunately with the regulations now we don’t offer
a lot of products we’ve got a new governor who’s a little bit more we cept
a lot more receptive than the old governor was he really wanted to be
President so that was the reason why what was known anywhere so now I think
with the new moving forward you can see a lot more products available edibles
one thing people really want different strains of just 562 strains we can’t
grow every strain so you got to understand when you grow indoors it’s a
lot different than growing outdoors because you have limited space we call
limited real estate and it’s much much more expensive to grow indoors so people
say why is marijuana so high in this stay for because the scrilla indoors
that because your electrical bill is high I mean our electrical all
compassionate care was anywhere between seven and probably ten thousand dollars
a month attack then on to rent and all the other
things that go along with running your facilities you can see why so I think
medical marijuana is going to help a lot of people I think it’s here to stay and
it can only it can only improve people’s lives and get people off these synthesis
synthetic drugs that are out there now your opening remarks have raised a lot
of issues those sort of benefits of medical marijuana but also maybe some
regulatory and implementation issues that we’ll definitely get into and so I
think may be a good place to start this discussion it would be for you to say a
little bit more about the the current structure of the sort of policies in New
Jersey and so maybe we can start with Bridget giving us such a overview of
what is the current law how does New Jersey compare to some of the other
states and let’s receiver the discussion that goes from there sure so Jersey’s
been limping along basically since the original legislation came out so we have
this compassionate compassionate care statute we have six
vertically-integrated licenses so that means that licensees are not just
growing but they’re growing processing and selling which now in a more mature
market say Colorado or California that doesn’t really happen that often anymore
usually you get a license to grow or a license to manufacture process and
dispense and they’re separate and and now in California you’ll see even a
greater variety of licenses so a license to transport distribute similar to
alcohol even micro licensing so you’ll have small shops the cottage industry
type stuff indoor outdoor that sort of thing Jersey is antiquated ah these you
know six licensees no nobody else I mean you don’t see that anymore
and now we’re gonna have six more vertically integrated licenses which was
actually quite astounding to me when that happened I I didn’t think that
Jersey would continue and that that line but they are um I know that there’s talk
there’s gonna be additional licenses that will be disaggregated so it will be
similar to other states it is very restrictive there’s really no
advertising at all there’s you and I know in the future
legislation there’s probably not going to be any advertising can’t even donate
to a charity to try and get your name out if you’re a dispensary it is very
very restrictive and I can’t quite understand why frankly uh you know
alcohol kills people every day and you don’t see nearly the restrictions on
that commodity that you see on cannabis I work with energy suppliers and
generators you know the bad installation and poor infrastructure for energy again
will kill people and I don’t see the regulations on that so it is a very
restricted commodity with a very limited patient customer base it is amazing to
me that people survive in this business right now I think one of the things you have to
remember in New Jersey in order to get a medical marijuana card you have to have
one of the debilitating diseases that the state recognizes right now we’ve
expanded it in the last year and the pts anxiety and so on are available so you
in if you have any losses you have to find a doctor that’s actually registered
in the program because he’s the only one that could actually give you a
permission slip to get in so there you have the practice yes yes the doctor has
to be registered with the state before you can even do that so you have to
visit that doctor and you have to pay a fee an appointment fee okay which is not
covered by insurance some doctors charges three artists
highest $300 for initial visit and you have to establish a relationship with
that doctor so depends on what ailment you are and how well he knows you you
might have to come back a few more times before he really recognized you as a
true patient which time you have to pay an additional appointment fate okay so
that if the doctor says okay I agree he’s gonna sign off he’s gonna give you
a PIN number and you go back and now you have to teach your responsibility to not
go back online okay and fill all the documentation and it’s quite and it’s
quite detailed of what you have to put down and you have to provide a driver’s
license and everything that a lot of people aren’t really computer literate
like you guys are there’s a lot of people that really don’t have the
ambidextrous ability to maneuver a computer a lot alone you know just
something as important is get a car and they’re sick and they’re sick and
they’re sick and they have to take a picture against the wall a white wall
board and so what we did a compassionate cares me basically said listen you know
we’ll do that for you you come in we have we have we actually hired a girl
just to do that and she was great she had she had the patience of a saint
these people would come down and they would sit down and she would fill out
all the documentation take the picture with her iPhone and send it off to Trey
okay then you had to pay at that time was $200 for the car okay $200 for the
car so you figured now you’re probably into about maybe five or six hundred
bucks before you’re allowed to purchase cannabis now depending come all your
ailment walls of how all you knew the doctor he can prescribe only up to two
ounces that was the maximum he could apply okay some doctors once a two
ounces some doctors only prescribed a quarter of an ounce then you had to come
back thirty days to get your prescription renewed or every 90 days to
get it to get that certification then again
which was another thing so people basically say hey wait a minute
this is a lot of money and then the product itself was all over $500 an
ounce again because of the endure the indoor grow and everything else
associated with it so it’s an expensive program it’s expensive for people and
people say hey listen I’ll just go back to the black market
I’ll take the chance with the guy I was dealing with because I know I’m gonna
get a cheaper and I’m not gonna have to jump through all these hoops and when
you go I mean there’s I watched a leaf link is a platform for for cannabis
business and the owner was on Fox News the other night and the Fox News
commentator was like you know let’s give up this pretense that this is for
patients if this is for sick people and I you know I was like laughing out of my
chair if you go to these dispensaries you could see the walkers lined up I
mean these are like people there have shuttles in Maryland from some of the
assisted living facilities I mean this is not a swing in Lincoln club but with
a bunch of twenty-year-old say these are sick folks and so this idea that there’s
you know this pretense that people are just doing it you know to get high is is
actually pretty laughable it’s so expensive I don’t know anybody who would
would pay that much money for what is basically like beer you know we had a
gentleman that was actually used to come in on the gurney an ambush used to come
and drop them off he could only move his head and his caregiver was with them and
and he would purchase this two ounces every month and he was in such pain and
agony that I talked to the guy he was coherent and everything he said it just
gave me a quality of life he said it made me feel good gave me a quality of
life but my heart went out for we had a gentleman would come and he was he was a
paraplegic but he had to was a motorized wheelchair he would drive a van and the
ramp would have come down and like you know like a starship did he come in and
he was functioning by himself and he said it just gives me a quality of life
it makes me feel better and he said I just don’t want to take those damn pain
medications anymore I really want to get off that I want to start feeling better
I want to start feeling better about myself and you know it’s the same thing
that we a peep with pain lieu coma you name it we know
any of those diseases that were covered it really really helped those people it
gave them it gave them a sense of hope really about a year and a half ago
it’s the Journal of the American Medical Association they did a study where they
had a petri dish with leukemia cells that they put the CBD oil on the petri
dish and what they found was that it inhibited the growth of leukemia cells
so you it makes you wonder why isn’t this everywhere in the news all over and
I think Big Pharma is putting a lot of pressure to continue the stigma against
cannabis too so that they can continue to sell their chemo medications and
things like that and I’m not saying that cannabis will cure cancer but certainly
I think that it is a help with some other things that you know they’re
starting to now see they’re coming from the dark side I mean this is a market
but I can tell you that my law firm is dealing with tobacco companies alcohol
distributors and I would not be surprised if we’ve we have some pharma
clients as well I mean it’s more than thirty states at this point it’s
happening marijuana has got two things going against it my my first thing is
the name marijuana I mean it’s a Mexican nickname for a cheap Mexican cigarette
okay a name was invented by a guy named Henry and Sudhir
if you remember having the answer if you guys in the history of prohibition
agents and so forth he was to really your first drug czar the second thing is
a smoke and people say well how can you smoke a medicine I mean New Jersey just
passed all these regulations about you can’t smoke here you can smell where
it’s bad for you it’s gonna you know nicotine and so forth and so on so how
can how could smoking marijuana be beneficial for you so um I had a
conversation with an executive bristol-myers Squibb if you know a
pretty a pretty big guy up there and I says what is it with what you’re what
are you guys really against he says listen he says it costs us between 1.5
and 2 billion dollars to develop a new drug
that we can only use for seven years before it goes generic last and we have
to go through all plan of clinical studies all kind of FDA approvals all
kind of hurdles with the food with the Food and Drug Administration everybody
else to get this drug to market the last thing we want to hear is I got a plant
growing on my backyard they could be the same thing it’s it’s the pharmaceutical
industry in the lobbyists and the pharmaceutical industry is the largest
employer in the state of New Jersey and employs more people than any other
industry maybe not necessarily down here but in parts of central in North Jersey
and they pay your large salaries and they have huge political connections a
huge donors especially so you can see why there’s this kind of pushback
against legalizing marijuana when you just invested all this money and these
drug companies out there and you look at Israel Israel is the number one country
for cannabis studies in the world they are so far ahead of everybody else in a
way they look at cannabis and how cannabis can help them and the reports
that are coming on in Israel that could help people with Alzheimer’s disease you
can create all different types of benefits that we don’t even want to
address in this country but again politically and unfortunately our last
governor wanted to be President made that like there’s just not really enough
dispensaries to go around for the numbers like Tom mentioned there’s about
thirty-five thousand registered patients currently I’m the same New Jersey so I
wonder if you could speak a little bit to the kinds of policy changes that that
you think would help these sort of issues of access so what are the
problems that so money seems to be a problem and the patients are running
into but there might also be concerns about right like is there are there
enough dispensaries so like sort of how are they distributed and then the state
and again sort of what kind of policy changes do you think might might help to
fix that well on the present regulations we have six dispensaries operating out
two in North Jersey two in Central Jersey two in South Jersey okay now it’s
what’s the initial Compassionate Care Act allowed for now the governor Murphy
has a lot for six additional expenses to north to Central Zoo South but that in
itself is laughable right I mean this is the most densely populated state in the
country the idea that we would only have 12 dispensaries is absurd you know yes I
understand that because the middle mark medical market patients
have to register that does strangle you know your your patient slash customer
population I so I take issue with that it shouldn’t be so hard to become a
patient it shouldn’t be so hard to qualify his patient and then there also
should be a greater number of licensees so there needs to be enough people to
support the market and there needs to be enough product to support the patient
population that is so true because initially New Jersey initial back in
2000 and the Act came out said there was actually 40,000 people that could
directly benefit from cannabis 140-thousand this was back in probably
2011 yeah when the when the Act was written and then consequently
politically they whittled it down to just six dispensaries in the future I
think with I think there’s a stranglehold right now is not enough
cannabis produced there’s thirty five thousand patients now to have access
only to six dispensaries so obviously supply and demand plays affect any what
happens with supply and demand economics one on one
the price will always be high so I’m making sure that the appropriate product
is available for the the patients for what they need I think it’s also an
issue and given the regulations or the statute that we have right now that
certainly not happening I think they need to schedule it different also the
scheduling of cannabis is done in such a way as if it were an illegal drug and so
the research doesn’t move forward on it because of the way it’s scheduled if
they were to change that maybe more research could be scheduled one yeah
yeah like heroin that’s what people that’s why drug companies won’t touch it
because it’s federally illegal even institutions initially Rutgers was gonna
be the go-to institution until they found that it was federally they gonna
schedule one they were in jeopardy of losing their federal funding so they
they shied away from it I’m just a little bit maja this program got started
you know the medical marijuana class here at stopping got started because one
of your Provost Kara hood actually visited compassionate care and I took
her on a tour and she was just amazed at what happened and and just through you
know I’m back of a nap and you know she says could we think this class we could
put a class together and I said yeah I think it would be great you know let me
work on it and then and you’re president president
very very receptive to it he saw this four years ago where he met him he was
right on ball with this he says yes this is something we should get involved with
this is something that’s definitely be the future this is something our
students would definitely benefit from so president kessman was very very
supportive of this program from the beginning
I think couple so you mentioned that that marijuana is sort of scheduled
currently a Schedule one drug but most of the students here I think are not
currently cannabis miners and so it might help if you could say a little bit
about sort of what it means to be a Schedule one drug what criteria are used
to classify it schedule one drugs and what sort of characteristics define the
sort of scheduling process sir essentially it’s the idea that there’s
no medical benefit that it’s highly addictive and the end right it’s sort of
like the end all stop to discussion and really the great injustice of that is
that it makes it so that we can’t study it it creates this logical fallacy right
there’s no benefit to it so you’re not allowed to research it but we can’t
prove that there’s a benefit to it because you’re not allowed to research
it meanwhile the federal government has the
patent on the plant you know so you know the idea that they’re saying there’s no
medical benefit you’re not allowed to research it but we’re still going to
hold the right to any sort of production from it later on it is very telling and
absurd frankly you know I there’s talks about D scheduling which would be great
you know then you’re in the nutraceutical world right so when you go
to GM GNC and you buy echinacea right they’re not allowed to say on the bottle
this is going to help you with XYZ issue I think a lot of people in the cannabis
industry are hoping that it becomes you know nutraceutical world the big fear is
that then it becomes schedule – schedule – is okay this is a real powerful drug
we can research it it might have a medical benefit but then it becomes
something that’s expensive to produce expensive to purchase it really takes it
out of that sort of cottage industry that has grown up in the United States I
think that you know the federal prohibition will
likely end but I think it’s gonna come from state passage so if you look at
women’s right to vote women have the right to vote in the States before they
have the right to vote federally and I think the same thing is going to happen
here we have more than 30 states now that have given people the right to to
take cannabis as a medication at the very least not even a recreational
market what I think is going to happen here is the same thing there’s too much
money on the table there’s too much benefit to patients and
and even you know people who are using it recreationally which I don’t think
exists I think everyone’s a patient some some form but you know even there you
know people are drinking less they’re safer Minh
it’s just how fast it happens actually could thank Richard Nixon for schedule
one and October 27th nineteen nineteen seventy he signed the comprehensive drug
abuse and Prevention Control Act and basically marijuana is considered along
the same lines as heroin LSD peyote and ecstasy which the Pope will have
according to the Act have absolutely no medical value at all
so Richard Nixon the real reason was Richard Nixon wanted to be able to
access your house if you or someone that was subversive and not along his lines
he wanted to give the police the power to know knock and because you had the
ability to destroy whatever evidence was there so he included that to kind of
keep the subversive groups online namely the Black Panther who’s the Weathermen
underground and some of those some of these groups that you guys probably even
heard about work but at my time were very popular it allowed him to
specifically target and take away the civil rights of ethnic minorities who
are his political adversaries as well as left-leaning political activists and it
was actually quite brilliant of him you know because not only can he now walk in
your house and search it he can search your car he could do all of those things
it was a very strategic way of taking away people’s civil rights but you
mentioned a little bit about it this sort of research like what would be
Bennett what sort of gains you might get from do you scheduling or sort of
bringing it down to a schedule too so I wonder maybe Pat you can say a little
bit about this because he raised the sort of research aspect of it and like
what kinds of so right now just you know to sort of clarify there are limitations
on research for Schedule one drug so if you are interested in doing research on
a Schedule one drug you have to get approved meant from the drug enforcement
agency which is a federal organization um any other sort of have enhanced
security measures in your lab and it’s just very difficult to do and so you
were mentioning sort of that some of the things that we might see from research
on medical marijuana and I wonder if you could speak a little more to what
researchers might even be looking for that they could get in California they
were going to start doing some research using cannabis in cerebral palsy
patients because they’re seeing that it’s benefiting patients with multiple
sclerosis the spasticity disorders so that maybe if they could you know reduce
dispatch disa t patients can become more functional and that would be a great
thing and and even with autism they’re talking about using it to calm some of
the I have a patient who’s nineteen years old he’s the son of two lawyers
who gets violent outbursts he’s barely verbal we placed him on the cannabis and
he he’s taking he’s ingesting it they make it into an oil and put it in
gelatin capsules so he gets regular dosing of it they missed a dose and had
a violent outburst they gave him as dose he calmed down and
he came into the kitchen and said to his mother
gee mom that wasn’t a good thing and she said no John that wasn’t and he said I’m
sorry mom and she sat in my office and cry
because not only did he make full sentences but he also recognized that he
had done something that was wrong and that had never happened before so it
just makes you wonder what else can come out of some of the research if they were
able to really even with Alzheimer’s patients maybe we might be able to get
more feedback from them so I think we’re just scratching the
surface how this can help rather than putting chemicals into our body why not
put something that’s a natural product I mean anybody who can benefit that’s
great but you know especially we see these kids you would drop seizures and
you know it whatever your position on it is you know I think there’s a special
place in hell for people who kept that medication because kids for as long as
they just it’s awful awful is it I really didn’t break out with children
until the Stanley Bo’s in Colorado developed a string called Charlotte’s
Web which was a high CBD low TAC primarily from the hemp plant which
really started the revolution it was also a patient in New Jersey called
Vivian Wilson in 2013 who was getting a lot of publicity because she had this
darvid syndrome that there’s no medication you know multiple seizures
per days their parents were at which end and they actually moved to Colorado
because the medicine wasn’t available here in New Jersey
specifically Charlotte’s Web she moved out to Colorado to get the medication
she wanted actually picked up enough states and it was quite a few other
people that actually relocated to Colorado just because they wanted to
have access to that particular strength so you mentioned that it’s a high CBD
low THC so um there’s been a sort of proliferation of CBD only products
recently and and there’s a regulated as the dietary supplements and are sort of
limited testing quality control sort of is a little bit different for those but
so I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about sort of what CBD only
means where do they come from sort of how do they work that’s you could buy on Amazon or Ebay
has no THC in it or so little that it’s negligible and while it’s good for
insomnia anxiety disorders minor problems you need that little bit of the
THC to fully absorb the CBD so while it’s helpful it’s still not as good as
what what God put on this earth and you know that’s how I feel about it with the
doctor at first was what they call the entourage effect another for to work
properly it has to have THC and CBD but actually any industrial hemp which is
0.3 percent THC derived from an industrial hemp is considered legal
under federal law because it’s actually rated by the Food and Drug trace amounts
so the stuff you see in on Amazon the stuff you see in all the stores
advertised there’s really nothing in it it’s just a marketing ploy to get you to
buy their product hopefully in the future when cannabis does become more
available they’ll be able to slide that in but right now I would not advise
anybody buying any of that stuff unless you get it from a state that has not
least illegally but California or Colorado which just has the true CBD
medication efficient source of either those things hemp is a material really
when you look at it it’s a material for construction rope cloth that sort of
thing and it’s great for that but the content of CBD and THC in the hemp plant
is just not that great you know traditional cannabis is a much better
source we’re doing on this like tap dancing and fancy footwork around a
plant you know for what you know it’s just not efficient also when you buy
those products online even if you’re getting it from somewhere like Canada
where it’s you know relatively safe you don’t know how much is actually in it or
how much you’re getting per you know dropper it’s not very well regulated
it’s not and you know Tom and I talk about this all the time but you know
those plants I mean that whole family of plants is really good at pulling heavy
metals out of the ground so if you’re buying CBD from China where there’s high
amounts of heavy heavy metals in the ground because it’s so polluted you’re
ingesting that look that’s bad like a solid dark yeah or that you know I
really encourage people to to make sure they understand where their CBD is
coming from and make sure it’s a reputable source because you don’t know
what’s in that so how do I wonder if you could say a little bit about how you
sort of figure out dosages for your patients you know thinking about all
these different strains and and those sort of effectiveness of all the
products that are out there that’s a really tough thing because everybody’s
excuse me everybody’s metabolism is so different what I advise patients when
they first start if they have never used cannabis before I would like them to
start very slow if they buy the lozenges by the half-strength
and just to see how they respond to it compassionate care was excellent they
they actually went diagnosis by diagnosis of symptoms that patients had
and at least gave them a framework to show which plant was most used for that
particular illness so that at least gave a starting point as to where what to
choose because they the patients would show up and they would see a menu and a
counselor would meet with them to discuss these things but it it really
was it’s sort of more up to the patient as to how the benefit is going to be can
you just say a little bit more about like sort of what considerations they
would sort of think about when they’re making that decision or when you’re sort
of helping them make that decision you would look at the if someone is having
more pain than you would look for higher CBD amounts in the plant if it’s more an
anxiety issue or sleep issue or seizure disorder you’re looking for a higher THC
or maybe a hybrid plan and then there’s the whole list of
terpenes that are available which are all parts of the plant that do different
do different things for for patients whether it be to increase their appetite
or you know reduce spasms or take care of pain it just it’s very there’s not
really any set like you could open up a PDR and you see well it’s so many
milligrams per kilogram for this particular medication but for cannabis
because they don’t really have the research available yet we don’t really
know exactly you know how to dose this so I just tell patients to start out
slow and you know more to effect standardization of dosage is kind of
this like common thing you hear that like CBD and compliance all in the same
sort of breath and you know what I see now is it some of the device makers so
the folks who are making the real advanced pens will let you say I want
this degree this amount from each pull and so you know before where it was sort
of you know thca is one of the cannabinoids that are that are in the
plant and at a certain degree your burning off the THC a and it becomes THC
and those are doing different things now you can get the pens that will dial it
down so that you’re still getting the THC a which is kind of remarkable I mean
there there’s a whole new world now of devices that are really I think maybe
you know there’s some scary parts see right there recording a lot of the data
which I don’t necessarily like but you are getting a little bit more control
over the standardization of dosage which is great for patients I’m sure dr.
Greene at Medical Sciences and the exact science and everybody’s body is
different everybody’s body metabolizes things different so consequently people
that start out with marijuana kind of need more and more and more to get the
same result only because their body develops a tolerance to it and that was
some of the struggles we had with some of the original patients that were
you know using cannabis quite frequently for pain suddenly said hey this stuff
doesn’t work for me anymore it’s because their bodies had developed such a
tolerance to it so they were actually seeking higher and higher strains of THC
and that the price point that we were we had they felt that was a better value
for them but it was the tolerance issue a lot of times with people and again
especially with other medications they were taking – could have contraindicated
what they were taking and really close to some other issues that gets to your
question before you know what kind of regulations would help you know there’s
certain extracts that will give you more bang for your buck right so if you are
developing a tolerance to it you know maybe you need to go to some of the you
know higher concentrated extracts which are available in most markets now so so
sort of it’s trial and error it seems because there’s so little research about
there on the patient side how did the dispensary so choose which strands to
have on hand since there’s presumably not that much research there either we
first opened up believe it or not it was funny as dumb the state had a
don’t-ask-don’t-tell how you’re gonna get your seeds so you know we had a
finagle away of smuggling him in from out of the country and we started out
with three strains one was the high THC a middle TAC and a high CBD and initial
names were a pineapple chunk red cherry berry and shark shocks okay those are
the three names that we need and as patients came in they they asked us for
specific strains hey did you have this strain that you had that strain and our
answer was no what can you get it for me well we don’t know because it’s
federally illegal we just can’t call California so hey could you ship us 50
these clones that we can do so a lot of times people accepted what we had and we
kind of got more and more strains as we went along we did a deal with one of the
dispensaries montclair what a strain called blueberry which was a high THC
strain it was very popular at the time and actually gave us a plants we were
gonna do a deal to develop a high to develop a high CBD strain and we found
that that shark shock wasn’t the one so we had to go out trying to get some ACDC
which was more of an eight to one Oct 2 th see but consequently what
people think seemingly stranger don’t really sell in dispensaries in a flower
in a flower form the only patients that really buy them or patients that have
them use issues with epilepsy and their mothers that want to have to make
tinctures for their children you get a better a better quality of product if
you go to a state that actually allows you to do more more edibles and more CBD
extracts but in New Jersey it’s in one of the problems with with with the
strains are is the consistency of a plan it’s a plan sometimes you know like this
year anybody grew tomatoes in their backyard it wasn’t a good year for
tomatoes in Jersey because it’ll because it’ll rain so it’s the same thing with
plants it’s really a hit or miss and it’s really unfortunate because if you
have a child that needs to consistent strain all the time you know to be able
to get you know the properties that you liked originally are gonna evolve you
know and so you’re you’re constantly searching out for that perfect plant for
whatever issue you have and that does not seem then to be a problem that we
could even sort of regulate our way out of it’s just sort of a function of the
well who knows right because we’re not allowed to do the research but I do
think you know there there’s sort of these two pulls right there’s the more
you know Earth Mother II kind of added to you where it’s a plant I believe it
is then and then you know there’s also like the more physician researcher idea
whereas like standardization of dosage making sure that this is consistent and
that people can get the medication they want every time you know I think because
it’s such an immature market especially in New Jersey we just aren’t there yet
we just don’t have it okay okay and so we have about a half hour left so I
think it would be great to open it up for questions from the audience so if
you have a question dr. Abernathy will come around with the mic hi um I went to
school in the 60s and so it’s kind of mind-boggling to me that my life may be
saved by cannabis and ketamine okay ketamine is Special K and it’s also
another drug that is being used to treat certain psychological conditions and
that thing I actually filled out my online
registration for my card today and you know the expense despite the fact that
I’m a senior citizen it baffles me further that while my state insurance
plan will pay for my vicodin and my opioids and all the other painkillers
that I’ve been on they won’t pay for my cannabis and they won’t pay for a lot of
the things associated with treatment I’m watching with great interest as we all
are the upcoming decision for legalization in both New Jersey and in
New York and I’m wondering whether or not should it pass you guys think that
it’s going to have a positive effect on the cost because we’ll be more
competition or do you think it’s going to you know I can see online that if I
could buy it on the street and I have no idea how to I could buy a lot cheaper
than I can going through compassionate care you
know the prices are higher so is it likely that that will drive the price
down or you have any prediction I think in general if there’s a greater market
it’s typically it will go down but what I would suggest to you is that once you
get your card consider going to a jurisdiction that has reciprocity that
will recognize other state cards so if you go to I believe DC maybe Rhode
Island DC the the great thing about having the card is that you won’t pay as
high of an excise tax so the products will be cheaper also because there’s
less constraint on licensing in places like DC there’s a cheaper price so you
could go to a dispensary in DC and get the same medication for less but you
would have to consume it there and not go across state lines squeezed that is
illegal but you know they keep that in mind there are some states that will
recognize your card Maryland is not one of them and I believe Colorado is not
one of them but there are states that will recognize cards from out of state
and I think initially in new jersey with with pending legalization I think you
tsehai price is only because supplying the man you’ll start having medical
you’ll start having recreational plus you’ll have people coming in from other
states and Colorado’s numbers are really driven by people coming in from other
states to purchase Massachusetts just came online surely if you looked in the
park a lot of majority cars at Massachusetts weren’t from Massachusetts
they were driving over and buying it so it’s it’s a question of there’s only six
dispensaries right now producing it they can only produce so much and the demand
will be really really high in the first six months to probably a year the plan
takes 90 days to grow so it’s not a question I just put another assembly
line together and put up another hundred thousand units I have to consider that
that grow cycle which is 90 days many if you see I mean the evolution of those
markets Colorado the Paris went down significantly I mean at the height of
the market a pound of cannabis in Colorado it was $3,000 $3,000 I mean
that’s crazy now it’s well below $800 so you know once these markets grow and you
know there’s more production more consumer base it does go down but that
process takes a while and until then I definitely suggest going to to more
mature markets to get the medication you need I have a two-part question I’d like
to know why it can’t be grown outdoors in New Jersey which is the Garden State
and I’d also like to know because that would help keep the cost down if you
didn’t have to pay the electric bill and my other question is regarding why can’t
you do free commerce with other states that have state license dispensaries
that do have it at a lesser expense or a greater variety why can’t there be some
free trade there I think the first part is the state doesn’t allow doesn’t allow
homegrown fish can’t tax it okay that’s just number one reason you can grow it outdoors in New Jersey
but that’s a rather risky venue for a number of reasons first of all we have a
short growing season okay majority that people really don’t
know really how to do it a second of all four plants
feminized plants are the plants we’re talking about that gives us the high
ratio TG the chances are of that plant outdoors is going to be pollinated by a
male plant and produce seeds which is produced a less of a quality of plant
you we all tried Mexican swag remember Mexican swag from the 70s that was just
basically an outdoor plant but in New Jersey it’s not an it’s not an easy
plant to grow I mean people say they can grow it I know guys that do do it guys
that do it rather poorly I just don’t think from a commercial
standpoint if you had it invested in a large greenhouse yeah absolutely that
that’s type of stuff but for you to do it your backyard and I think it would be
you would be unsuccessful past what you hear me yes I know blood slop so when the bill in Pennsylvania was
passing there was there was bipartisan support for it but the Republicans were
very concerned that there would be crime people breaking into these fields or
going crazy reefer madness and so part of getting the legislation passed is
enacting these incredibly overprotective security regulations so you know 24-hour
security cameras on every entrance and exit safe rooms that are like bomb
shelters I mean absurd levels so there is the growing concern because you don’t
want the feminize plants or the I’m sorry that what the male plants yeah the
so when the seeds get in there it’s low quality it’s just no good so there’s a
couple reasons you also get a longer you get more crop so if there is you know
one crop that you can produce outdoors you now getting three or four if you do
it indoors so it just makes more financial sense the reason why you can’t
go across state which would be great there’s a piece of legislation right now
that would allow you to do that but it hasn’t come to the floor yet in the
federal sense but anyway so if you go across state lines you’re conducting
interstate commerce the federal blog that you’ve just broken
you’re gonna go jail for a real long time so that’s why everything that has
grown here and consumed here is within the state the second you go across state
lines you’re a felon I mean it is bad news the state’s bill which was not
allowed to come to the floor of Congress because of pete sessions not jeff
sessions pete sessions was in charge of all the legislation in the house that
would come to the floor he just got voted out in texas so potentially that
that could change we could have the states Act which was supported by Cory
Booker in New Jersey and also Elizabeth Warren that would really solve a lot of
problems especially in Oregon and Colorado and California where we are
producing more than we are consuming as opposed to Nevada
and New Jersey and all these East Coast states where people are struggling to
get product and can’t get it you know so it is absurd that in this country we
have such overproduction in one state and under production another and we
can’t do anything about it as if it was a whole nother country it’s it’s
ridiculous just a follow a point to Bridget earlier she had mentioned about
advertising the radio and TV stations are licensed by the federal government
and of course as you know it’s illegal federally and they’re afraid they’re
gonna lose their license as a matter of fact I tried to advertise dr. kacica in
her Galloway office and I was told that that’s a no-no so just to let you know a
question for dr. kacica with regards to medical marijuana I think a lot of
people are concerned about addiction and we all kind of know marijuana people say
it’s a gateway drug and all of that stuff have you found in your practice is
there any kind of possibility that it becomes addictive especially since
they’re going to need it to to get rid of the pain I have not seen patients
getting addicted to marijuana in the same way that they do to opioids with
opioids they get a physical addiction to it whereas with marijuana I’m just not
seeing it they’re using it because they need it not because with pain patients
and it was always so frustrating for me too knowing that that the patient would
get a benefit having pain using cannabis and writing another opioid prescription
for them knowing darn well that that would help them better but not being
able to give it to them so it’s I think that you wouldn’t see that kind of
of a physical dependence on cannabis like you do with opioids thank you I’m
not familiar with like d1 categories and d2 categories of drugs but if it’s
currently a d1 category and no research company behind it if it was to move
classes to d2 or is there’s a d3 or something schedule schedule drugs do you
see that one day like maybe in the far future that cannabis could become
something where pharmaceutical companies want to sell it absolutely
I think pharmaceutical companies are just waiting for the data that’s
released from Schedule one that they can get a shot at it and they already got
the expertise they’ve got the equipment they’ve got the scientists they’ve got
the expertise behind them I think they’re just waiting for it to come off
schedule one and then looking at how it would fit into what their business plan
is at the time bristol-myers ribs buys companies every day I mean it’s just a
matter of how will they fit into their business plan what they’re working on
now and if they can make money on it and I think my personal opinion I think it’s
it’s gonna come off schedule one that will be available basically in your
pharmacy as you go when you buy and it’s allergy medication we have to show your
driver’s license and sign for it or whatever I think it’ll be something
along that line eventually get into that but absolutely I think the drug Humber’s
just can’t wait I mean we all met you mentioned that that there’s like the
stigma behind it in a pharmaceutical in the federal government but do you but
agree that it wouldn’t become like as big of like a monopoly within them like
you know like they don’t want to sell it because their chemo is so much more
expensive and they’re making more money and then you know I think I think at
that level they wouldn’t look at it I mean right now it’s I mean amino therapy
is the big thing they’re all know that they’re looking at now as to how to
increase your immune system to fight cancer as opposed to taking chemotherapy
so there’s a lot of money going in that direction but
I mean you’re gonna see different companies pop up with different tabs and
lotions and everything else gummy bears or some I think you won’t look at one
industry that’s gonna definitely benefit off cannabis is to sleep I mean cannabis
is a tremendous sleep babe there’s gonna be a huge market for for cannabis
products moving forward just to help people sleep it’s a natural product now
like a melatonin it’s not getting ambient not like a Sonesta and any of
those drugs and I think that’s gonna be a big plus when people realize that and
pharmaceutical come and say hey you don’t want and that’s the I’m not
ambient you know happiness kind of doesn’t really kind of weird things to
people but I think sleep it would be one thing I would vest in a drug company
that was doing a sleep aids I think that’s would have been a big big
big moneymaker there’s GW Pharma take them along so I think British and
Israeli pharmaceutical companies respectively that are already doing this
so if you look at what is the seizure medication at the dialects so you know
there are pharmaceutical companies that are already making money in this right
you can mold on my I don’t think they’re public but I’m pretty sure up a dialects
if GW Pharma is a public company they are I bought I bought their stock um you
know you they exist they’re there they’re making money and I still see you
know these big companies from Canada in the United States as well I mean if
you’re worried about you know monopolization it’s already here the big
companies are here they’re coming from Colorado they’re coming from California
and Canada and they’re here so you know the the property is coalescing the big
guys are making money but they’re doing it hand in hand it seems like with the
drug company so hi I’ve seen studies that from states
like Colorado where there have been in increase you know somewhat slight like 3
percent in car accidents due to legalization how do you feel what what
do you think is the best solution to this issue that comes from legalization
so I read the update on this today and I think your data is about three years
behind if you look at the most recent culmination of research that was done by
the state of Colorado it’s actually a decrease so they’re taking all under the
influence drivers and they have disaggregated them and initially the
number of people who admitted because they can’t test admitted to smoking but
within two hours of the accident went up it has recently gone down and so you can
you can look that up it’s on the the I think the the first page when you go to
Colorado’s division that talks about the meed website so I would encourage you to
look at the executive summary that’s on the first few pages that data has been
updated hi so um I know as of right now pretty
much any physician can prescribe opioids but you need to have a certain license
in order to prescribe cannabis correct so in order to combat the opioid crisis
do you think that it would be a viable option for to open up prescribing
cannabis to all the physicians and without having to get that extra
licensure that probably would be a good idea but I think it’s more the doctors
choice whether they want to become a provider of it or not because it isn’t
really that complicated to just you know fill out a form to become a provider I
think it’s more their choice as far as who’s going to prescribe or not it under
pending legislation now I think you’re gonna any mostly any doctor will be able
to prescribe it for mostly any ailment as well as a nurse practitioner I
believe so right that there also that I consider to make the flow a lot easier
for people but again I think just some doctors just they just don’t get
involved but it’s also a recommendation it’s not a first prescription that
invokes your federal license so it’s a recommendation because of what I had
seen with my own family and even with myself eight years ago I was diagnosed
with MS so you know with my own journey and I think when you have such a tragedy
happen it opens your your field of vision and it really opens your mind to
looking at other alternative things that you can help yourself with look at
Pennsylvania they had bipartisan support it was daylin leach and I cannot
remember the Republican seats and regime and I’m kicking myself but at the time
his wife had cancer right so all of a sudden one of the
hardest Republicans in Pennsylvania rate the
center pencil tucky Pennsylvania all of a sudden is supporting cannabis like ha
you know I think it becomes a very personal issue for people and then there
and they see yeah its compassion and you see it and you’re just like why was I so
against this you know like my father is like super hard Republican all of a
sudden you know he’s like oh you know now I see what this can do and I think
it it does make it real for you discussion with the opioids in the
marijuana I’m on both and the marijuana has allowed me to reduce the amount of
opioids I take and as far as going to a doctor and getting a prescription for
the opioids you can do that but you have to have a urinalysis test every time you
go in for a prescription they test you to make sure you’re using and not
selling and one of the problems that we have right now that’s not being
addressed at all is the most people that need help with the marijuana products if
you look the statistics are 55 and older older people have joint problems and
think that the marijuana could really help but the insurance companies don’t
pay for it it’s out of your pocket some of us can afford it we can take care of
what but a lot of people can’t afford it what have you heard anything about the
insurance companies proposing maybe stepping in and picking up some of the
tab the GOP’s federal federal federal Schedule one insurance companies as long
as as long as he as long as the is scheduled as a drug that has no medical
value of the insurance companies will not get involved but I did see there was
a case within the last year with workman’s comp so there was a workmen’s
comp case in New Jersey where the judge required workman’s comp insurer to pay
for cannabis so you know if you look across the states the the jurisprudence
is is changing right the the procedure is changing but it’s slow and I I truly
believe that until we have solid federal statutory change
we’re gonna be stuck in this sort of quagmire you know words just halfway a great panel discussion today I have a
lot of history with this one of the reasons you talk about a regulatory
change I actually went to Congress and asked
them to treat medical marijuana as any other legitimate business and to allow
us to deduct our business expenses we are treated as a criminal so we are now
allowed to deduct our up our rents our salaries or any of these other things
so essentially up until this last tax law change which should bring the price
down a little bit we were taxed at 35 percent on the sales price so for every
dollar we we had to charge you we had to send 35 cents of that to the federal
government even though it’s federally illegal okay
now the state wants to put put taxes on top of that so now you’re at 42 percent
so at the end of the day with payroll taxes and everything else half of the
money you’re spending for medical marijuana in New Jersey is going to pay
taxes it’s the tax code section is called 280e
all right this rates these businesses so if you look at Colorado you know federal
government considers this illegal and so there even though it’s illegal 280
allows them to tax illegally gotten gains so the famous case was in the 80s
there was a drug dealer who basically deducted the cost of dealing drugs and
successfully and so the federal government changed the tax code so now
you have to pay tax on your ill-gotten gains which is remarkable right so this
is state legal business and you’re paying you know at thirty five percent
isn’t bad you know most people are paying more and because there are no
banks to take your money they’re paying their taxes in cash so you’ll see these
hache points in denver where armored cars roll up and their pay their tax
bill in cash with armored cars I mean it’s absurd I’ve been taken I have been
blindfolded and taken to warehouses where there are piles of cash that
should not exist we have banks this is not a third-world country it’s crazy
it’s crazy so so I drove an hour and a half to come here today for to ask about
one specific thing is you’re mentioning that they’re 3,000 people a year dying
of opioid overdoses in just in New Jersey we killed twice as many people
with opioids as we do with drunk drivers right so I have some but let’s say I
have somebody that is addicted to opioids now however they got them it was
through their grandmother’s medicine cabinet or at a party or whatever they
took them for five days now they’re addicted how does medical marijuana help
me get that person off of the addiction that’s my question medical marijuana binds to the same
receptors in the brain that the opioids do you can have them come off whether
you wean them or I’ve seen patients do it cold turkey they don’t go through the
Werth drawl that they had they not had the medical cannabis I mean you might be
able to balance and use some suboxone in the interim and then put them on the
medical marijuana if they got hooked because of pain issues that would be one
thing but if they just simply started taking the opioid and got addicted that
might be a little tougher you may have to go the suboxone group to get them off so as the like the legal industry
expands is there gonna be any concrete efforts in New Jersey to address the
legacy of crumbles ation for communities of color how like the criminalization is
historically affected communities of colors they’re gonna be any distinct
efforts in New Jersey to address those wrongs during the expansion of the
industry so if you look at the proposed bill right now written by Scutari I
believe there is a social equity program in there so basically you’re awarded
points based on your application and what’s in it you would get greater
points for having women minorities I think that all of those things would
sort of add to the strength of your application in some states like
California and it’s down to a municipal level they have programs where bigger
richer whiter essentially owners of licenses will carve out physical space
and will give advice and consulting help to smaller licensees I can’t speak to
the strength of that program because they really haven’t existed that long
but that’s what people are trying to do we have several thousand people that go
to John Brooks and addiction recovery systems here in Atlantic County and they
receive methadone so you’re recommending in maybe 10 15 20
years they might switch over to another replacement and do you think it’ll take
that long I mean break down most of those patients
these thousands of people that are right now in Atlantic County according to John
Brooks an ARS most of them are on Medicare they
have no money so I mean they can’t just say well tomorrow we’re gonna switch our
program I fed Errol legalization I think will
directly address that and it’s also cheaper to produce you know an even an
extract of cannabis than it is to produce those those drugs so if
depending on when federal prohibition ends it would be the best answer to that
I think that’s a big pharma to look at immediately something like that I can
you know they can get involved with that rather quickly with the expertise that
they would have thank you all for your wonderful remarks and comments and your
great questions let’s give our panelists a round of applause I also just want to note quickly and
because so many of our questions in the discussion sort of turned to the
question of legalization for recreational use that is being
considered by lawmakers in Trenton the political engagement project is
currently planning a panel for next semester in the spring that will focus
on the sort of question of legalization and all the sort of complicated issues
that surround that and its implementation so if you’re interested
look for information on that panel soon okay so thank you everyone
and oh yeah great and dr. Abernathy has a sign-in sheet if you have not done
that yet

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