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Pot Charges Dropped Against N.J. Medical Marijuana Patient


Article By Steve Elliott

A New Jersey prosecutor has decided to drop a marijuana possession charge against a man who argued he uses cannabis to treat a seizure disorder.

Police in Readington, N.J., found a small amount of marijuana on David Barnes in February 2010, reports The Associated Press. His case became a rallying point for local medical marijuana advocates.

Although the New Jersey Legislature last year legalized marijuana for patients with certain medical conditions, implementation has been delayed as the administration of Republican Gov. Chris Christie labors over regulatory details

If the program had already been up and running, according to AP, “probably no one would have considered the 50-year-old former internal auditor a criminal.”

Barnes suffers from cyclic vomiting syndrome, getting persistent, painful vomiting attacks that last up to three days. He regularly throws up so much that he loses up to 10 percent of his body weight.

A doctor recommended back in the 1990s that he use marijuana to soothe the symptoms, Barnes said. While cannabis doesn’t prevent the attacks, it makes them milder, according to Barnes.

His was the type of case that persuaded New Jersey legislators in January 2010 to make the state the 14th the legalize marijuana for medicinal uses in certain situations.

A month after outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine signed the medical marijuana law, Barnes, a resident of Tewksbury, borrowed a neighbor’s plow to dig out a vacationing friend’s home in Readington. When the plow got stuck and he asked his friend’s neighbors for help, they summoned police.

Officers said Barnes smelled like marijuana, and found a small amount of pot and a pipe in his possession.

He was charged with marijuana possession and carrying “drug paraphernalia,” offenses that could have gotten him up to a year in jail.

Barnes said he took his doctor with him to meet with the municipal prosecutor and reached a deal. As soon as he could present his state-issued card authorizing him to legally possess marijuana, the charges would be dismissed.

But, with the repeated delays in implementation of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, the prosecutor apparently got tired of waiting for Barnes to get his card. The municipal court confirmed that the case against Barnes was dropped last week.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Barnes told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I really credit the judge and prosecutor in this for seeking justice rather than just seeking a conviction.”

There are similar cases around the state, according to Chris Goldstein, spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, but patients are usually afraid to speak publicly about them because of fear of offending prosecutors and judges.

The underlying issue remains in limbo. New Jersey is planning a March 7 hearing to get public input on a proposed set of regulations from the Christie administration that many medical marijuana patients and advocates say is too strict. Legislators, meanwhile, are considering going back to the drawing board and forcing new regulations to be written.

Article By Steve Elliott, writer for Toke of the Town


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  1. All the cops and all the jails will never stop . People need to re-educate them selves, soon we will be paying $4-$5 for a gallon of gas. What if you could grow with out the need of chemicals or fertilizers a replacement fuel that actually is a weed that was proven safe as our great grand parents burned it in their oil lamp cook with it in there stoves and Henry Ford used it to make plastics for car bodies and ran on bio-fuel from this plant even Hitler used it Russia was a great place to grow it. Henry Ford along with George Washington Carver and Randolph Diesel envision a environmentally clean renewable fuel that would use our vast farm lands not cut trees that took hundreds of years or coal or oil that thousands of years to produce. He wanted to use a plant, a weed that could virtually grow any where in the world with out comical pesticides or fertilizes. Cannabis (Hemp) has been in use for thousands of years, how ever we have had corrupt and greedy business and politician make bad Laws. Today we import $300,000,000.00 worth of oil and have wasted over a trillion Dollars to stop drug use and is virtual the same percentage of hard drug users today we have arrested over 59,000 people and ruined their lives and there family lives for what the DEA job security. The DEA has block the State of North Dakotas right to grow industrial hemp since 1997. If we miss the April and may planting we will again lose out on a opportunity to be energy independent. Let make the DEA illegal

  2. malcolm kyle on

    Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 – Now google ‘The Great Wall Street Crash’ and see when that happened!

    During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?


    China has recently been in negotiation with a number of countries, asking them to replace the Dollar with the Chinese Yuan as their reserve currency. This, when it happens, will remove the Federal Government’s ability to keep printing cash to cover the trillions it costs to fund prohibition. It’ll mean true freedom but the transition period may well bring consequences that are far more horrific than a slasher movie. — It never had to be this way; we should have learned our lesson from studying the mayhem that alcohol prohibition wreaked on us.

    We all have our victories and defeats as regards fear, but most of us strive not to let fear rule our hearts or our minds. Being free means being free to live and love as if death and fear had no power over us. Freedom also means that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to expose blind hate, lies and ignorance by shining eternal light, truth and love, sending such dark forces fleeing to the shadows from whence they came.

    We explore outer space with various forms of space craft, but many choose to explore inner space via nature’s abundant chemistry – an infinite journey into the heart of God. Whatever, we are here to explore this glorious universe. The Prohibitionist’s brand of hateful, choking pseudo-Conservatism is the antithesis of all that. Like a lion who cannot grasp that he can do more than walk in a circle the size of the cage he’s recently been freed from, the prohibitionist is incapable of exploration beyond the boundaries of his own fear, prejudice and loathing. We are all free to choose how we walk our own path, but when we choose to go beyond this by supporting drug-war demagoguery, to the point of even threatening others with imprisonment and physical violence, we loose the right to expect any form of respect from the once free and prosperous society that we are helping to totally destroy.

    Thanks to prohibition we’re about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we’ve always provided facts and statistics – they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

    Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

    Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to “protect us from ourselves”.

    When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this toxic moronothon behind us, we’ll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being “free and fair” has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We’ll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

    Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­’s inquisition­, it’s supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you’re aware of but not enraged by it’s shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

    Prohibition engendered black market profits are obscenely huge. Remove this and you remove the ability to bribe or threaten any government official or even whole governments. The argument that legalized regulation won’t severely cripple organized crime is truly bizarre. Of course, the bad guys won’t just disappear, but if you severely diminish their income, you also severely diminish their power. The proceeds from theft, extortion, pirated goods etc. are a drop in the ocean compared to what can be earned by selling prohibited/unregulated drugs in a black market estimated to be worth 400,000 million dollars. Without the lure and power of so much easy capital, it’s also very unlikely that new criminal enterprises will ever fill the void left by those you successfully disrupt or entirely eradicate.

    Millions of fearless North Africans have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression.

    The drug czar’s office is not only unnecessary but also the greatest waste of space since vows of fidelity were included in the christian marriage service.

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