Garden State

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 how to grow it.

“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 product we have access to.”

Equipment advice, grow insertions, rentals, set up assistance, consultation, 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 the cannabis plants next to tomato plants. 

Witanek argued that such an egalitarian cannabis legalization would be a great stimulus to 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 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 at the legalization cannabis revenue that would go to police.

“We need to demand town by town policing to back off and fight back all of the towns putting bans in, which will give their cops more reasons to go after weed, even though it is legal.

He has been at since the late 70s rooted in lots of different kind of activity, anti-war, environmentalism, several social justice issues

A founding member of Decarcerate the Garden State, they supported Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion when he was arrested and raided in part by cross promoting information and his issues with bail and witness tampering charges that were subsequently dropped.

He is working to build public support for it.

He noted the police are now lobbying hard for the ban of cannabis dispensaries in the small towns that been passing them successfully. Witanek has been an activist focused on issues of decarceration and over-policing, which in the wake of last year’s George Floyd/Black Lives Matter mass protests, have come to the forefront. He has attended cannabis rallies previously.

Fighting for Homegrow in the Garden State

There are two homegrow bills, one exclusively medical cannabis introduced by Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and sponsored by Assemblywoman Verlina Renoylds-Jackson (D-Mercer), the other adult-use and medical cannabis growing 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 likely will not be seen on other significant 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.

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