(Trenton) — As you may know, April 20th (aka 4/20) was the unofficial holiday for cannabis users. So if you smell something skunky this weekend, you know why. But cannabis activists in New Jersey were in no mood to celebrate yesterday when they staged a “die in” at the Trenton state house.
Their goal: to represent all the dead medical cannabis users in NJ who are no longer with us.
So on a day when PSEG demand (and received) a $300,000,000 tax payer-funded subsidy, medical cannabis patients are begging for scraps.
“People are suffering and dying and our government is trying to exploit and tax us,” Sanjay Chaudhari told InsiderNJ, referring to NJ’s $500/oz price point + 6 5/8% sales tax. “Instead of saying ‘here is this healing medicine that many doctors have said is good for you” we’re gonna tax you and exploit this.”
Allowing medical cannabis patients to grow their own is permitted in most other states. But not in New Jersey where a very small number of political-connected gatekeepers get rich while the rest of us go broke trying to keep up.
“Six years ago Senator Steve Sweeney was for home cultivation,” Tracy Mc Hugh told InsiderNJ. “What changed his name and why? And what can we do to help back up why patients need it for access and affordability?”
For the record, Steve Sweeney supported PSEG’s $300,000,00 payday. But he’s got no love for sick-and dying people trying to manage their disease with some dignity. Has there ever been a starker, more illuminating example of Sweeney’s values than that?
Several advocates pointed out that Sweeney could post a bill tomorrow that would greatly expand and improve NJ’s medical marijuana program. But he won’t. Someone suggested he’s doing it to make Governor Phil Murphy look bad.
And the sales tax thing kept coming up.
“Taxing that medicine for sick and dying people is akin to drawing water out of a sewer of misery,” Rich Moroski told InsiderNJ. “Our government can do better than that. We deserve better than that.”
And so who’s to blame? Turns out, there’s plenty to go around.
“Primarily I leave this at the feat of Senate President Steve Sweeney,” Mr Moroski added. “I lay it the feet of our governor and of our previous governor. Our state had a unique opportunity to reverse-engineer a decent, suitable cannabis program here in New Jersey and they neglected to do it and went for profit instead.”
Biggest barrier for patients? Greed.
“The biggest obstacle to better access are these huge cannabis companies coming in from out-of-state and courting our legislators and using the power of lobbyists to go in there and circumvent the real needs of the people here in New Jersey,” Mr Moroski added.
In other words business as usual.
Jay Lassiter is a long-time political activist who’s sick of watching powerful people behaving selfishly.