STATEWIDE – An all-time high? How could anyone not expect that medical marijuana dispensaries would be bursting with business these days? The Philadelphia Inquirer reports sales of marijuana for, um, “medicinal purposes” have skyrocketed more than 20% last week. These dispensaries are considered “essential services” in the state – just like pharmacies – and won’t have to close. Given the burning demand, there is now talk of allowing legal home deliveries or curbside pick-up to help spread the bud as wide as possible. Yet more competition for your local illegal dealer whose “Free Delivery” was always an added plus.

TRENTON – Really? Are gun dealers really ticked off that they are not being deemed an “essential service” in this time of crisis? Do they really think that it is absolutely essential that people run out and get more guns, no matter the inflated cost? Apparently so, NJ.com reports, noting many gun dealers are having an absolute banner season as frantic New Jerseyans buy more weapons and ammunition just in case Delaware finally gets the guts to rise up and invade. On Saturday, the online criminal background system shut down, putting an end to further arming the populace. Many New Jerseyans will have no choice but to rely on their current stockpile of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. You know, just in case, a neighbor dares to ring the doorbell.

STATEWIDE – No doubt you’ve heard that the smog-filled skies over China cleared remarkably during the coronavirus lockdown. But all bets are off for continued blue skies as Chinese industry begins to crank up as COVID-19 cases have thankfully leveled off. Grasping for a silver lining, people are already trying to track whether a similar clearing could happen in New Jersey and the rest of the U.S., as workers sit home and stew. New Jersey has a ways to go. NJ Spotlight has a story today about the latest inventory of toxic releases in the state. Companies released more than 6 million pounds of toxic chemicals and other substances in our air, water and land in 2018. Will COVID-19 create a clearing? Cough and splutter as you read today’s NJ Spotlight.

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TRENTON – Who, these days, isn't thankful for State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli? Yes, many would freely admit they would have zero clue who runs the state health department, say, a week ago. But Persichilli has been the calm, credible voice in this entire colossal mess, as the former nurse steers the state through what is fast becoming the public health crisis of the century. She’s now talking about plans to add 1,000 hospital beds in just two weeks – not too shabby – and perhaps another 400 beds at some point in May. When politicians talk, we listen. When Persichilli talks, we take notes.

BRIEFING BREATHER: There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

NEW BRUNSWICK – It’s never too early to talk about next season’s college basketball rankings. Honestly, what the heck else is there to talk about? So, let’s rejoice that the New York Post issued its rankings of the Top 15 teams in the country, placing Rutgers at No. 15. “The Scarlet Knights have arrived,” the newspaper proclaimed; the team is projected to be premier in the Big 10. Of note: these rankings only included Wisconsin and Iowa from the conference, leaving the likes of Maryland, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State in the dust. (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

WARETOWN – We’ve just got to roll with the times, so an Italian market here is joining other businesses in giving away a free roll of toilet paper with every takeout order or curbside grocery pickup. The bathroom tissue giveaway has been a pleasant surprise to customers of Zano's Italian Market & Cafe. Owner Anthony Crapanzano tells the Asbury Park Press he’s “just trying to lighten the mood” for homebound customers who are hunkering down due to the coronavirus crisis. Crapanzano says he’s handed out several cases of toilet paper so far, but his supply was nearly wiped out this weekend. A new shipment is coming soon, so he doesn’t get behind in customers' orders.

Photo: Asbury Park Press

 IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Because news about toilet paper is so darn interesting these days, let’s take you to southwest Missouri. That’s where a Walmart shopper went into labor last Wednesday, just as she was deciding to go with either the one-ply or two-ply. Her water broke. Boom. And then the shopper offered an important kernel of info: her last baby was born just 30 minutes after her water broke, NBC reports. Throwing the Cottonelle aside, and foregoing another squeeze at the Charmin, a labor nurse sprang forward. She donned special surgical gloves she had in her pocket, reserved for moments exactly like this, and got to work. Meanwhile, Walmart shoppers were alerted to avoid Aisle 14 at all costs, while the nurse and arriving firefighters handled the delivery behind a sheet during 45 minutes of yelps and screams. Walmart customers cheered as mom and baby left the store on a gurney. Then, the war over remaining rolls of toilet paper resumed.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1997 that Undertaker beats Psycho Sid for the title in Wrestlemania XIII in Chicago. Finally, we can exhale from all the excitement.

WORD OF THE DAY

Incommunicado – [in-kə-myoo-nə-KAH-doh] – adverb or adjective

Definition: Without means of communication; in a situation or state not allowing communication

Example: Just because you are working at home does not give you a free pass to be incommunicado. Check in with everyone.

WIT OF THE DAY

“What do you say to Americans that are scared?”

- NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“I’d say you are a terrible reporter. I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think that’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Blech

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun