Long-time activist Bob Witanek has proposed a fascinating organization to support homegrowers in the Garden State.
Recent developed for the Trenton 4/20 rally, Witanek, he wants to creative a collective or union to support homegrowers. The Cultivator’s Collective would be made up of people interested in cultivation.
His proposed homegrow collective could provide growing advice and support. So that growers can produce maximum quality and quantity based on their specific needs and wants. Experts can provide seedlings, immature plants, and semi-mature plants best suit the needs of the growers.
A Cultivators Collective could help people grow by giving them strains or cultivars and teaching best practices.
“Who owns the means of production with cannabis? Farmers and workers, if you own some dirt, have some access to the sun,” he said. “We have the right to use the means of production we have access to.”
Equipment advice, grow insertions, rentals, set-up assistance, consultation, and ongoing care could be offered to collective members.
“Why should billionaires from Canada and all these other companies make all the money?” he asked rhetorically.
In his proposal, he says people should be able to plant cannabis plants next to tomato plants.
Witanek argued that such an egalitarian cannabis legalization would greatly stimulate the economy.
“The goal of unlimited grow is to minimize financial burden from corporate over-priced weed. All these med patients can grow top-producing plants for themselves with some help,” Witanek said.
He is from Belle Meade, NJ, in Somerset County.
Many people have gone to jail due to cannabis possession, trafficking, and growing, which is considered manufacturing.
“There will likely be a whole set of laws developed to try to undermine these collective approaches. Those rules need to be studied to determine the best way to get around the limitations,” he added.
Legal and Police Strategy
Witanek is unhappy police would still go after the underground market in the Garden State. That’s despite the referendum, which passed by 67 percent.
“The police are basically now the hitters for the legal cannabis industry. Taking out the competition so that the high-priced and lower-quality products can control the market. To undermine the competition,” Witanek’s proposal says.
He is also angry that legalized cannabis revenue would go to the police.
“We need to demand town-by-town policing to back off and fight back all of the towns putting bans in. It will give their cops more reasons to go after weed, even though it is legal.
He supported Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion when he was arrested and raided. Witanek did so in part by cross-promoting information and his issues with bail and witness tampering charges that were subsequently dropped.
Witanek is working to build public support for it.
He noted the police are lobbying to ban cannabis dispensaries in the small towns that have been passing them successfully. Witanek has been an activist focused on issues of incarceration and over-policing. In the wake of last year’s George Floyd/Black Lives Matter mass protests, they have come to the forefront. He has attended cannabis rallies previously.
Fighting for Homegrowers in the Garden State
There are two homegrow bills. One is exclusively medical cannabis and introduced by Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and sponsored by Assemblywoman Verlina Renoylds-Jackson (D-Mercer). The adult-use and medical cannabis growing bills were introduced by Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) and his district mates Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling.
With the State Budget due June 30th, it has become the focus of Trenton’s attention. Action will not be seen on other bills before the legislature’s lame-duck session after the November election in which Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature are up for re-election.