Last month, the Ocean County Freeholders drafted a resolution to ban the sale and legalization of cannabis in the county. Although the resolution carries no legal weight, the entirely Republican board was unanimous in their support for the resolution. It was also reported that one of the freeholders, Gerry Little, stated that “cannabis is more dangerous than cocaine.”
In response to this action, on Wednesday afternoon cannabis advocates attended the freeholders’ regularly scheduled county meeting. Ed “Lefty” Grimes, a resident of East Hanover, addressed the freeholders, “The drug war was created by racists to fill an agenda…for special interests to keep hemp out of American farms and cannabis out of the pharma industry…FDR was in a wheelchair all those years and know one new it. Imagine how strong the propaganda was.”
Lefty continued to speak and said, “Your parents lied to you and my parents lied to me. It is not their fault because they were lied to by the government.”
Freeholder Bartlett fired back, “Do not say our parents lied to us.”
Grimes continued, “Why are you against cannabis? Because your parents lied to you. It was not their fault, because they were sold a bill of goods from the government.”
“How can you say our parents lied to us when you do not know our parents?”
“I do not need to know them. They lied to you.”
As the exchange continued, Grimes said, “It is sad to see racism alive in the 21st century.”
“We are here because we saw the ignorance of your council. As you have been called out by a lot of people in the papers as I am sure you have seen,” Grimes continued.
“This board of freeholders never opposed medical marijuana. We did not oppose under Governor Christie and we do not oppose it now,” Bartlett reiterated.
Next, Hugh Giordano, union representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 152, also addressed the Freeholders. “The UFCW represents over 1.2 million members throughout the United States, including cannabis workers in the medical and recreational industry.”
Giordano continued that the “wrong message was being sent about jobs and job creation by the board of freeholders.”
Additional advocates also spoke on behalf of cannabis and the benefits legalization would bring to the community.
Although the resolution passed last month by the freeholders carries no legislative weight, Bartlett stated “we were sharing our feelings on the matter and hope others will follow suit.”
While many towns are coming out against cannabis being sold in their towns, it is important to note that currently in California only 13 out of 58 counties have policies allowing the sale of cannabis. Similarly, in Colorado, many towns were apprehensive in the beginning, only to change their ordinances once they saw it was implemented better and was safer than they expected it to be.