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Lambertville Cannabis Dispensary Baked by the River Hosts Drag Show for Pride Month

The social-justice-minded Lambertville cannabis dispensary Baked by the River hosted a drag show for LGBT Pride Month.

Called “Baked by the Queens Drag Show,” it was the latest in a series of shows.

Baked by the River dispensary is owned by Jesse Villars and Cord Schlobohm. They pride themselves on being Social Equity, underground legacy to legal, independent, and women-owned locals. 

Villars is the majority owner and the face of the company. Baked by the River dispensary is a rare Goldilocks as the cannabis company many New Jersey social justice advocates want to see open.

Lambertville Cannabis Dispensary Drag Show 

The drag queens did amusing pantomime dances for tips from the cheering crowd. They all dressed and performed in a very theatrical manner. The drag queens were all noted performers in the area.

“We decided to commit to hosting these events because there is an often overlooked parallel between our communities. We have a shared history of marginalization and criminalization and resilience in spite of it all!” Villars declared. “With all that is happening in the country right now and with anti-trans and anti-drug bills being proposed, it’s all the more reason for us to come together and support each other.”

“The support of our local community is the reason my dispensary was able to receive its permit on June 1st, 2023,” she noted. “We are stronger together. Thank you all for coming out tonight and supporting for your local drag community. And thank you for supporting a cannabis small business. Happy Pride Month y’all!”

The show was held in a residential zoned space above the storefront where their dispensary will be. It’s a former historic firehouse that caught on fire

They have been hosting a range of events in their space for alternative and LGBT community groups along with others.

The Lambertville cannabis dispensary Baked by the River is under construction and hopes to open its doors by August. They recently began hiring budtenders. Villars and Schlovohm met in opioid recovery and have been together for several years.

Joint Rolling Contest

After the initial drag show, they held a joint rolling contest with three people from the area. 

“People who are good just start doing it,” joked one contestant when she started rolling before the drag queen of ceremonies started the race.

The joints were judged on who rolled the fastest, how homogenous it was, and the strength of the pull or drag.

The slowest roller in fact, was the winner due to the quality of the joint she made. It was a local named Krista.

(Pictured above center.)

Baked by the River Dispensary NJCRC Licensing Issues

As New Jersey cannabis advocates, Villars and Schlovohm have been pushing for New Jersey adult use/recreational cannabis legalization on the state level and in Lambertville.

Unfortunately, the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) has been delayed in announcing conditional conversion winners. Villars is unhappy that annual licenses are opening at the expense of conditional licenses. They had a location but were advised to go conditional because it was supposed to be a faster process.

Unfortunately for them, a cannabis corporation that is a Multi-State Operator (MSO) with an annual license Union Chill has already opened in Lambertville.

They are not the only ones unhappy about delays. That is likely why there is a special NJCRC meeting tomorrow.

Villars said the NJCRC lost their application for three months. It was only after they testified at a meeting that progress began. Baked by the River got its annual conversion license at the June meeting of the NJCRC.

While it has been difficult as a small business, through magic, wit, charm, and community, Baked by the River is getting by while others hit roadblocks they could not overcome. 

They are getting through New Jersey’s cannabis market, which is dominated by cannabis corporations that are MSOs that usually only pay lip service to social equity to maintain their NJ adult use cannabis licenses.

“Our community is the reason we got here,” Villars noted.

So they are committed to hiring budtenders at a living wage despite being a small business. 

Social Justice Nonprofit People’s Equity Project

Being social justice and social equity-minded, Baked by the River wants to help people. So they launched a nonprofit initially called Cannabis Equity Employment to help those with marijuana convictions get jobs in the cannabis industry. The team has been working on outreach. They tabled at Heady NJ’s Working in South Jersey Cannabis Gathering in January.

(Our next event is this Saturday, the 24th, in Trenton, focusing on Home Grow! Get a ticket here!)*

Their nonprofit has been renamed the People’s Equity Project. They had trouble having “cannabis” in the title when seeking a bank account.

“We’re really trying to focus on the high-impact zones in the state,” Villars explained. 

She noted it can be hard for dispensaries to find people with convictions to hire, so they want to help them.

The nonprofit has been getting recognition for its social justice work. Baked by the River and the People’s Equity Project was featured in the June issue of Northeast Leaf magazine

Local artist and leader Afia Dash has been made Executive Director of the People’s Equity Project and has been helping them make progress.

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