Long-time prohibitionist David G. Evans is heading this effort. When asked who was paying for the suit, he said there was no corporate money behind the suit. There are multiple corporations and individuals who seek to remain anonymous named as plaintiffs in the prohibition lawsuit. Officially it was brought on behalf of Mary A Botteon, Richard W. Smith Esq., John Quattrocchi, Robert Caruso, Alfonso Cirulli, Melissa C. Tasse, and his group Citizens Industry Victims Educating Litigators (CIVEL).
He insisted they are not receiving money from Big Pharma but would not disclose who is paying for this suit. Evans claimed they have “no financial agenda.”
They seem to wholly ignore that 67 percent of their fellow New Jerseyans voted for the referendum.
“Just because it got voted in… doesn’t mean it was right,” he said, comparing cannabis to gasoline and lead as substances that needed to be better regulated in the past.
The lawsuit was filed on December 17th in Superior Court against Governor Phillip Murphy, Attorney General Grewal, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and cannabis sponsor Senator Nick Scutari (D-Union) to stop the implementation of Public Question # 1 that will legalize cannabis.
Prohibition Lawsuit Threatens All Legal Cannabis States
The prohibition lawsuit’s main point is that cannabis is still federally illegal. However, that has not stopped the other 35 medical cannabis states and 14 adult-use states from operations.
“They’re all wrong,” he said about all the legal cannabis states. Evans cited the recent losing federal lawsuit to deschedule cannabis.
He also cited Edward “NJWeedman” Forchion’s lawsuit and his position that state legalization contradicts federal law, and street cannabis needs to be legal along with that sold at a dispensary.
“The law makes strange bedfellows,” Evans admitted.
It is a discrepancy that could threaten the markets. But there is too much money and too much bipartisan support for that to happen. Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is involved in a cannabis company, as is former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). Trump’s former Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to rescind the Cole Memo, and the cannabis markets were protected nonetheless. Sessions was out in a year before he could do more.
“We intend to remind, and if necessary, to compel, our government officials to do their duty to safeguard and ensure public health and safety and that of children,” said Evans.
He compared the fight to David versus Goliath since they are taking on the state’s foremost political people. Despite that, he was confident of winning.
“I’m sure the court will follow the law,” he said.
Evans called the law “really inappropriate.”
The suit discussed the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) and provided the rationale for implementing CSA and it was done to protect the people of New Jersey. Since cannabis is being legalized, the prohibition lawsuit claims that it is depriving New Jerseyans of their civil rights.
Evans says his prohibition lawsuit cites a case where a New Jersey referendum was invalidated because it violated New Jersey citizens’ civil rights.
“The science is very clear,” Evans said. He then conflated tobacco and heroin to cannabis, which are not the same.
“The same is thing is going to happen to marijuana. It’s only a matter of time,” Evans said. “The time for an accounting of this is coming.”
“We got the evidence to back that up,” he said. “We have people from Harvard.”
(Incidentally, early cannabis proponents Lester Grinspoon and Carl Sagan taught at Harvard).
Evans said he wrote to legislators as a private citizen in vain explaining his position, who did not bring many of his arguments.
“There’s going to come a day of reckoning,” he said. “We’ve recruited lawyers in other states.”
Evans plans to keep appealing until he wins.
“We’re committed to seeing this through,” he said.
While we live in a tumultuous society where many unexpected events occur, there are riskier bets than one against this prohibition lawsuit.