Governor Phil Murphy said he does not support legal cannabis home grow in NJ because he wants to give the new market time to flourish. But is this even a logical and valid point?
Or is it the case that, once again, lawmakers are so completely out of touch with reality and information, knowledge, science, and wisdom about cannabis that they’re leading us from a place of utter blindness?
Sativa Cross, along with other New Jersey cannabis advocates and professionals, held a protest for legal home growth last week at the State House to get their attention.
There is zero evidence to support the claim that home grow damages the conventional markets. Some people suggest it’s quite the opposite.
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A cannabis plant is truly free advertising for dispensaries. A beautiful plant in a friend’s yard is the billboard for cannabis products that reminds shoppers they need to swing through the dispensary on the way home.
Live plants are especially educational. They convey harmlessness. This can stimulate curiosity in dispensary products and convert the wary into shoppers.
Home grows help spread awareness about cannabis plants in a different way than cannabis marketers could ever hope to accomplish. Live plants translate immediately to the human brain as something natural, which eliminates resistance.
We are hard-wired to look at a healthy green plant and recognize something innately good for us. Far more so than looking at a packaged product on an iPad.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in the company of live cannabis plants, you know how peacefully beautiful and immediately disarming they are. When someone has a negative opinion about cannabis and they’re exposed to a live plant, there’s a paradigm shift that opens their eyes and normalizes their opinions.
Older adults, who make up the fastest-growing demographic shopping at dispensaries, would be perhaps the biggest winners if cannabis plants started popping up in gardens around the Garden State. Many of these adults were sadly utterly brainwashed by negative propaganda and TV commercials with sizzling eggs that spanned decades.
Potential Costs of Legal Cannabis Home Grow
The truth is, there will be people with a love of gardening and a natural green thumb who will find the process simple and fulfilling. Most people who try, however, might not be so fortunate.
There are many things that can go wrong with a cannabis plant, from molds and pathogens to mites and pollination. Outdoor plants are exposed to all sorts of variables, and things like wind and rain can decrease the potency of flowers. In NJ, there are only a few months out of the year when outdoor growing is even possible.
The cost of setting up an indoor home grow is only for the truly devoted. When you consider the list of equipment and add up the costs, it can set you back a few thousand dollars to get started. A small tent with a light for seedlings and plants in the vegetation cycle, one larger tent for flowering plants, soil, nutrients, fans, monitoring equipment, and jars for curing and storing.
Hydro is even more of a delicate game. Growing is a big gamble with no guarantees. But it can be a lifesaver for patients with specific strain requirements for seizures and cancer patients needing large amounts of RSO/FECO oils. It helps those patients who need high doses of edibles to manage pain without opiates. Mediocre plants can still make good medicinal oils and save patients money.
Misguided Cannabis Industry Opposition
It’s truly baffling that NJ lawmakers keep putting off any type of home grow allowance at all. If they want the market to thrive, they should probably listen more to local patients and the people that have been around the industry for years than the CEOs of the Multi State Operators (MSOs) that are pulling their puppet strings.
While CEOs may know money and they may know corporate business, they have absolutely no clue as to what happens in the cannabis underground legacy market. They see profit margins falling in states out West. They’re scratching their heads as to why, apparently completely unaware, the scale of what was being sold from stores and growers in Colorado and California on the East Coast prior to the Eastern wave of legalization.
Home grow didn’t ruin those markets out West. People aren’t buying fewer cannabis products. They’re just legally buying the ones made in their own state now. Of course, those other states are feeling the loss.
The time is now for home grow legalization. Lawmakers need to let patients get the medicine. They need to stop this absurd claim that it would be harmful to the dispensaries. It shows an embarrassing lack of research, education, intuition, street smarts, and logic.
With their refusal, they hold back the very floodgates of fortune that they seek to open. Home grow legalization has the potential to be the educational component that opens those gates. There is just no reason whatsoever to prohibit it any longer.
By Mary Ellen Lorello