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Homegrow Advocates and Legacy Operators Protest at State House


A crowd of cannabis home grow underground legacy operators protest at NJ state house pictured

Cannabis homegrow advocates united with legacy operators to hold a market and protest on the lawn of the NJ State House last week. 

The legacy market operator John of NJ Smokers Club and Edward “Lefty” Grimes of Sativa Cross held a joint event. 

They planted a baby cannabis plant, known as a clone, on the lawn of the NJ State House to protest the lack of homegrow. They named the strain “Murph OG” after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D).

“Murphy’s growing weed,” Lefty joked. “Everyone take a selfie with the illegal plant, with the illegal medicine.”

“It’s legal because it’s considered hemp,” Lefty argued.

“There’s no THC in that. It’s legally hemp,” Sativa Crossadvocate Adam Umansky argued.

“That’s a legal plant right now,” Lefty said.

“A patient needs a pound of weed a month,” Chris Velasquez of Sativa Cross and the Dover Cannabis Company said. We need to juice it. We need RSO.” 

He noted most states that legalized cannabis included homegrow in their process.

“Murphy, make the shit legal today. We want to grow at home,” Velasquez joked.

The Sativa Cross ran their traditional podcast while people listened, mingled, and shopped. 

The crowd was an interesting mix of both the traditional Sativa Cross activists and followers and the Legacy Operators from across the state.

Persuading Union County to Lobby Scutari for Homegrow

Invited to speak on the podcast, I explained to the crowd that to get Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Union) to support cannabis homegrow, those in his district needed to be persuaded to persuade him to support homegrow.

“We need to politicize the entirety of Union County and get Linden (Scuatri’s hometown) people to talk to their old friend Nick,” I said. “We need to get weed people in Union County, and then we’ll get him that way,” I said.

I noted Monmouth County activists convinced their Senate Vin Gopal to support it.

“It’s not that hard if you’re (a) friendly (person) who likes to talk to people. Just go to City Council (meetings) and talk to people about homegrow and the need to get little guys licenses,” I argued. 

I explained that persuading friends, neighbors, local business people, church members, ad sports team members to go to city council meetings and urge them to advocate to Scutari for homegrow

Creating More Local Homegrow Advocates

“Do you think Senator Scutari will put it up for a vote this year?” Lefty asked. 

“If we get Union County people to support it, if we get his constituents to support, then we can get it up for a vote,” I replied. “Get to the mayors, to the city council people, to the local Democratic committee people, the local lobbyists to be for it.”

I noted it’s a lot of work to grow good weed. Also, I argued that homegrow could be lucrative for dispensaries if they sold clones seeds, fertilizer, and supplies to individuals. 

Ken Wolski of the Coalition of Medical Marijuana of NJ (CMMNJ), who is the Trenton Cannabis Board Chair, spoke. He noted they have advocated for medical cannabis and homegrow since 2003.

Wolski explained they are advocating homegrow and health insurance for medical cannabis patients.

“If you go to a hospital now and you’re stabilized using medical marijuana… you have to stop using it, and that’s not fair,” he noted to boos from the crowd.

Legacy Operators Rally and Hold Market 

The legacy operators at the State House were a diverse group who were gifting quality cannabis. There were many legacy operators at the State House where pounds of weed was being transacted. Also, there were $50 eights of an ounce of cannabis were being sold.

A great range of products was being sold unavailable in the legal market, including unique candy and strong infused drinks and cannabis in large jars potential customers could smell.

“We should be able to grow and sell it back to the dispensary,” John of NJ Smokers Club said to the crowd.  There’s a lot of people who don’t know anything about cannabis, and they want to dictate the rules.”

“We gotta find a market for the legacy vendors. “We need homegrow,” he added.

John of NJ Smokers Club railed against town autonomy in New Jersey, which has been an established fact of life for decades. 

“The State should have made it completely wide and not let towns have an option,” he said. “The hardest part is getting into the towns.”

Asserting Legacy Operators’ Rights

The legacy operator asserted their rights.

“We’ve been here for a very long time,” John of NJ Smokers Club said. 

The legacy operator NJ Urban Hippie was also present, giving away cannabis clones. They were a variety of strains. Unfortunately, they were not labeled.

Many noted legacy operators prominent were there, like NJ Green Scene, which has hosted legacy cannabis markets. Some were even selling paraphernalia, including smoke filters, to enjoy it discreetly.

Legal operators from across the State were present at the protest. One trying to go legal lamented he has been paying for an empty storefront for a year.

It was a sizable crowd of people for a weekday afternoon. There wasn’t even one state police officer visible despite the sizable crowd.

The legislature was in session, and lobbyists and similar professionals entered and left the State House Annex door.

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