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Legacy NJ Cannabis Home Grow Legalization Protest Held at State House


New Jersey cannabis home grow legalization protest held on the State House lawn

A protest for New Jersey cannabis home grow legalization was held at the State House recently by grassroots activists and underground legacy operators.

Home grow remains a felony while the legal New Jersey cannabis industry is expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars, if not a solid billion, this year.

The noted cannabis grassroots activist group Sativa Cross held their traditional podcast show on the State House lawn. Others periodically joined them to highlight the need for home grow, among other issues.

Sativa Cross Advocates for New Jersey Cannabis Home Grow Legalization

Leading cannabis advocate Jim Miller advocated for the need for an informational hearing to inform the legislature and others on the Sativa Cross podcast.

“It’s about getting… people to say hey, Senate President, we would like to hear this in a committee hearing,” he argued.

Miller thought it would show how other legislators thought. Like other activists, he thought it outrageous that Jersey is one of the very few states that legalized a cannabis market without legalizing home growing.

“We are the outlier state,” he exclaimed.

I noted the need to find patients/supporters in Newark to persuade Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and patient activists in Jersey City to persuade Angela McKnight (D-31).

This is the way activist Jeff King of Monmouth County persuaded Vin Gopal (D-11), who has been consistently supporting cannabis home grow legalization since 2020.

Underground Legacy for Home Grow

Along with the Sativa Cross podcast, their effort was boosted by NJ Smokers Club, which holds pop-up cannabis markets. They brought underground legacy operator supporters. They held a similar protest last year.

“The State obviously is falling behind on their program, don’t know how to run their program. We have a lot of issues with dispensary rules and regs,” NJ Smokers Club lead promoter John declared.

He also noted the many problems with towns not allowing dispensaries or setting up a shady process.

“We need home grow because a lot of patients don’t have access to the right medicine. They can’t get what they want. It’s hard for me to get Skittlez and certain strains I like,” he explained.

“It balances me out for medical purposes besides just the high,” John added.

He also likes the strains Sherbet and Gelato for medicinal purposes since they are good for treating inflammation.

Activists often point out the injustice of what seems like a natural plant being illegal to grow. In addition, a lot of patients can’t afford the medicine that’s on the legal shelves.

UFCW Union Supporting Worker’s Right to Home Grow

UFCW labor union Organizer Mike Burry was also there to support home grow legalization.

“Patients’ rights are workers’ rights. This is a working-class issue of being able to produce your own medicine. The costs (of medical cannabis) in New Jersey are higher than almost anywhere in the nation,” he explained. “Patients who need this medicine in their daily life are currently priced out.”

The UFCW labor union is organizing workers at the licensed cannabis dispensaries along with the growing and production facilities.

Burry noted New York’s home grow cannabis legalization recently went into effect after their adult-use market has been open for 18 months.

Multiples Home Grow Legalization Efforts

Sativa Cross and the UFCW union are also part of a different cannabis home grow legalization coalition that includes many independent dispensaries.

They want New Jersey to allow more than the 6 or 12 plants allowed in the medical and adult use cannabis home grow legalization bills sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton (D-7) of Burlington County and Vin Gopal (D-11) of Monmouth County.

Instead, they are demanding New Jersey allow a larger canopy size to pheno hunt or experiment with the breeding of quality plants to create the best personal medicine. So, they decided to put about 40 cannabis plants into the New Jersey State House lawn in April.

Burry noted that plants grown from seeds of the same strain might be very different.

The NJ CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) recently endorsed this coalition. In addition, they held a webinar to demonstrate to NJ Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22) that there is indeed industry support for home grow legalization.

During the webinar, NJ Senate Democratic Conference Chair Vin Gopal (D-11) noted that Scutari is blocking Health and Human Services Committee Chair Joe Vitale (D-19) from holding a hearing on medical cannabis home grow legalization.

Scutari has declared multiple times that he thought it could hurt the profit margins of the industry. But advocates have explained to Heady NJ that growing is difficult and costly so few would do it. In addition, they would likely also buy cannabis from dispensaries as well.

Heady NJ is among the organizations that have endorsed both efforts, along with Trichome Analytical and the UFCW labor union, among others.

Legacy Criticism of NJ Cannabis Market Legalization

John liked the idea of a simple flea market-esque underground cannabis industry that could be legalized more simply than the laws and regulations enacted by the State of New Jersey.

He’s not the only one.

“Let everybody sell their product so they’re able to grow their plants and take it to the dispensary, which can then test it and then sell it with a wholesale and a retail tax,” John argued.

“Me and (NJ) Weedman been selling weed for 20 years of our lives,” he declared. “We get f***** over because of capitalism. Someone has money, and they can come along and just pay the tax and pay the state.”

“They want money. It’s not run for the People,” John argued.

He noted the culture of corruption in New Jersey was recently brought to the forefront. The news of charges leveled against South Jersey Democratic Boss George Norcross III was very significant. John argued it has made the New Jersey cannabis legalization process very dirty.

“They’re making money off it in a corrupt way. That’s why they want the dispensaries to be flourishing. They don’t care about the people,” he declared.

John was also unhappy at the NJ Delta 8 THC intoxicating hemp legislation that was passed. Like others, he believed it will likely hurt underground legacy operators who tried to go legit selling hemp.

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