Leading activist Bob Witanek published a letter on his site Fight Back Better criticizing New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Murphy Administration for threatening gifting companies.
His letter is in full support of the underground market and how they operate.
“We hereby condemn the “Desist Letters” from the Governor Murphy Administration being sent to Cannabis “gifting” retailers. We see this as potentially the opening salvo of a crackdown – that could lead to an all-out war upon those trading cannabis outside the exclusive legal framework set up by the Murphy Administration to benefit Canada, Wall Street, and others outside of New Jersey investors instead of the farmers and workers of New Jersey,” the letter reads.
Many online have been upset that the New Jersey Attorney General decided to attack four prominent gifting companies operating openly as legitimate businesses.
NJWeedman has a skeptical attitude towards the provisions a range of prominent cannabis advocates fought for, such as the inclusion of impact zones that will receive cannabis tax revenue, micro license businesses, and special treatment for women, minorities, and disabled veterans with the establishment of an office in the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission dedicated to that. The bill first introduced by Senator Nick Scutari (D-Union) indeed did not include those provisions. But there is indeed a path forward for gifting companies to receive licenses ultimately.
Fighting for Gifting Companies
Green Party candidate for Governor and Lt. Governor Madelyn Hoffman and Heather Warburton also issued a letter supporting the gifting companies.
“Let people who have been supplying the market for years continue to do so. We didn’t just vote for dry and over-processed corporate cannabis,” their letter says.
The underground market often supplies many who cannot afford the steep prices of the established medical cannabis dispensaries to treat their medical conditions.
“We voted to legalize all cannabis, but especially the high-quality cannabis from local Jersey people we have come to know and love,” the Green Party wrote.
There was nothing in the referendum to suggest that the underground market would be allowed to operate in the manner that suited them if it passed. It was a referendum to create a fully legal market compliant with regulations.
“We can do more than complain as New Jersey weaponizes its policing as a hitter enforcement squad for the framework Murphy and company have set up,” Witanek said.
Witanek hopes to build unity and organizing capable of defeating an “onslaught.”
“The voters no doubt wanted the best interests of New Jersey, an end to policing, an end to fear,” he said.
“We believe the best benefit for New Jersey is for New Jersey workers and farmers to engage in cultivation and trade outside the monopoly system – this is the only way to keep cannabis product affordable, high quality, and safe,” the letter says.
Witanek thinks the gifting companies should form an association, an idea Edward “NJWeedman” Forchion has promoted.
“There should be more people like me. If there’s a 1,000 like me, then they can’t ignore it,” Forchion said.
“Grewal in his tweet even makes quite clear that he is working at the behest of the industry,” Witanek said.
Grewal argued competition from the gifting companies would hurt legitimate businesses. If the micro-businesses are established, the gifting companies would indeed be unlawful competition.
Witanek is also spearheading a cannabis homegrow cultivation group and looking for supporters. He was at the 4/20 rally at the Statehouse.