Daily Voice this week is running down some of the top stories of 2016.
Here is the first of a few of the stories that made us smile, made us cry or in some way left an impression on us.
DUMONT, N.J. — Since November, a Dumont man's recently launched Medical Marijuana Patients Club of New Jersey has grown from zero members to more than 300.
Todd Provenzano, chef and owner of Chicken Todd's, said this is just the beginning.
"The interesting thing is we haven’t started to push yet," said Provenzano of Hackensack. "We’re saving the push for 2017."
The father of two started the club to raise awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana. The group primarily operates through its Facebook page .
There has already been a shift in the public's views on medical marijuana, Provenzano said.
"I don’t get looked at with the same eyes as I did five years ago when I said I had a medical marijuana card," Provenzano said.
"People are waking up to the issue we’re having with pharmaceuticals."
An investor has taken control of the business side of Provenzano's products, allowing him to focus on coordinating the club's events and purpose.
Medical Marijuana Patients Club of New Jersey met for the first time earlier this month. Some members chose to bring their doctors to share the information.
The club hopes to legitimize the movement as opposed to other organizations that have taken a more stereotypical approach.
Provenzano referred to another medical marijuana advocacy group that he believed were demonstrating their support the wrong way. The group would smoke pot outside the state house or antagonize legislatures about the issue.
"That’s why people don’t want anything legalized, because people are going to act like that," Provenzano said.
"The legislature wants someone who’s not going to clown around the state house."
On the other hand, Provenzano said he's received support from friends and family who once questioned his ties with the medical marijuana movement.
Provenzano focuses on Medical Marijuana Patients Club of New Jersey, but in other states, he offers THC products under a company name called Rastafire.
Currently, New Jersey only allows medical marijuana in a smokable form, but Provenzano said he's open to consulting with people across the nation about what they can do to make their medical marijuana digestible in a legal way.
Medical Marijuana Patients Club of New Jersey will have its first event on February 11th, the Saturday before Valentine's Day. The event will be hosted at Provenzano's restaurant, Chicken Todd's at 49 West Madison St., Dumont at 8 p.m.
Anyone interested in joining Medical Marijuana Patients Club of New Jersey or learning more about Provenzano's products can call him directly at 201-275-5939. The club's Facebook page can be found by clicking here .
YEAR IN REVIEW
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