Medical Marijuana Bill Approved by N.J. Assembly

Just in . . . the Associated Press is reporting the following,

The New Jersey Assembly has approved a bill allowing chronically ill patients access to medical marijuana. The compromise bill now heads to the Senate, which had approved a less restrictive version.

Gov. Jon Corzine supports the legislation and could sign it before leaving office next week. New Jersey would become he 14th state to allow medicinal marijuana use. The bill would allow patients with ailments like cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to buy up to 2 ounces of marijuana a month at state-monitored dispensaries.

Home growing would remain illegal, as would driving while high. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a bill co-sponsor, says New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Marijuana Act would be the nation’s strictest such law.

I Just Can’t Help Myself on this News Flash . . . Sarah Palin Joins Fox News!

I know, I know this is a bit of a stretch for Community Matters but I just can’t help myself. 

Sarah Palin has just signed on as a Fox News reporter! Palin has inked a multi-year deal with Fox news and will offer political commentary and analysis on the cable channel, as well as on Fox’s website, radio network and business cable channel.  She also will host occasional episodes of Fox News’ “Real American Stories,” a series debuting this year that the network said will feature true inspirational stories about Americans who have overcome adversity. No mention made of ex-governor Palin’s salary for her new career move.

“Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the FOX News lineup,” Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming, said in a statement.

It’s Official. . . Berwyn Resident Receives 4 Years for Illicit Business Deals with Iran

Following up on this morning’s posting, Berwyn resident Ali Amirnazmi, a dual US and Iranian citizen who ran TranTech Consultants, an Exton business specializing in software, received a 4-year sentence today for his illicit business deals with Iran.

 Amirnazmi, a chemical engineer was convicted last year on charges that included violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act – which authorized sanctions against Iran, making false statements to government officials, and bank fraud.

The judge said she weighed many factor before delivering the sentence, including the need to deter Amirnazmi and others from committing similar crimes. She also ordered five years of supervised release for Amirnazmi after the prison term. He already has served about 18 months. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen A. Miller described Amirnazmi, who was prone to courtroom outbursts, “as a narcissistic, unrepentant liar committed to boosting Iran’s chemical prowess”.

Guess we won’t be seeing Amirnazmi walking around Berwyn anytime soon.

Not in My Back-Yard . . . Maybe So

Like many people, when I’m reading the paper, I just skim the headlines and may not always connect with the articles. For instance, here was a headline from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer – ‘Chesco Man with Iran Dealings to be Sentenced’.  I see those headlines and think Chester County . . . hmm; the man is probably from West Chester. I am not sure why I would think ‘Chesco Man’ means Man from West Chester, except that West Chester is the county seat . . . a university town . . . has a diverse population. West Chester is certainly not South Philly but there is a sense of urban living and I guess the closest area that someone could live his or her life with a sense of anonymity. And don’t we watch the news and need to believe ‘bad’ news happens somewhere else and that ‘bad’ news doesn’t happen to people that we know. That kind of news cannot possibly be about someone we know and certainly cannot happen in our backyard.

So here you go, the ‘Chesco Man with Iran Dealings to be Sentenced’ is from our own backyard . . . Berwyn . . . and Ali Amirnazmi could have been our next-door neighbor. Amirnazmi is a dual US and Iranian citizen who ran TranTech Consultants, an Exton business specializing in software for chemical companies. The 65-year old Berwyn chemical engineer will be sentenced today for engaging in illicit business deals, on three counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which authorized sanctions against Iran. A brilliant man, Amirnazmi’s defense attorney Elizabeth Ainslie will argue that her client was a productive, law-abiding citizen for many years. He was a graduate of Tehran and Stanford Universities and resided in Berwyn for 28 years.

According to US attorney Stephen Miller, Amirnazmi has engaged in business transactions with Iranian companies for over a decade, some of which are run by the Iranian government. Miller argues that the sentencing-guideline range of 97 to 121 months is appropriate, particularly because some of the chemicals Amirnazmi planned to provide to Iran are used to make rocket propellants.

So what does this say . . . ? Our world is indeed smaller than we think it is (or maybe just smaller than we want to believe it is).

Are we going to look at our next-door neighbor differently today? Probably not.

I just found this article something interesting to talk about on this cold, January morning in Tredyffrin Township. Community matters, any thoughts?