For decades minorities have had marijuana in their neighborhoods. There is no shortage of weed in the hood. If one in the hood wants weed, there is weed. There really is a black-market of weed in minority neighborhoods, weed distribution systems that have been in place for decades. That said and done, now the state is proposing that the hood stop buying its weed in the hood and buy it from the state’s chosen few, none of which are us.

The state is seriously contemplating legalization via a legislative act and instead of really legalizing weed, the government is creating a state-sanctioned marijuana industry (a monopoly). This industry is being formed largely by politically connected rich Caucasians who aren’t even part of the marijuana culture. I call them “cannabaggers.”

These two politicians and the cannabaggers are making the new marijuana industry laws to cater to these cannabaggers exclusively. Neither I nor most minorities who were victimized by the current marijuana laws can’t participate or even fill out a application for a job or to get ownership in this proposed industry. The cannabaggers are making obscene requirements and prohibitions to make selling weed legally exclusive to the rich and politically connected. Who can’t put some weed in a jar and sell it? Why must we be millionaires to sell it? I had a dispensary in Los Angeles that I started with $500 and an apartment to grow weed in.

True legalization would make everyone, rich or poor, allowed to possess, grow, and trade/barter their herb. Bills are being written to allow only the cannabaggers they choose to sell, grow, and possess cannabis in massive amounts while still criminalizing everyone else. People in the hoods who have been selling weed for years, been arrested, and had our lives ruined for years will still be criminals under proposed laws.

For the record: I will not be buying weed from any of the “Caucasian Cannabis Corporations” (CCCs) as long as there is no means for “us” to be a part of this new multi-billion dollar legal cannabis industry. I further call for others to boycott these CCCs — #boycottCCCs — for the reasons I’ve stated above. Let us grow: www.151farmers.org

I’m just a little guy, I’m not rich, and I’ve been a repeat victim of the government’s war on drugs and its marijuana policies. So I’m in no way in a position to stop the state from actually passing and implementing this de jure discriminatory legalization bill.

De jure discrimination occurs when the law is actually written in such a way that discrimination, or poor treatment of a group of people based on shared characteristics, is based in the legal system. This can be contrasted with de facto discrimination, which occurs in spite of the law simply because of social norms.

But I will not comply. In fact, with the political and media clout I do have, I’m openly saying the day Governor Murphy signs this bill I will begin selling weed and openly growing weed myself to highlight this discrimination and to legally challenge the law in court. I believe the law besides being de jure discriminatory will not have the support of the masses. My act of civil disobedience of selling weed like the white guys will get media attention, as a candidate for the 15th District State Assembly I expect media outlets to publish my comments.

I expect the Mercer County prosecutor to arrest me. But I don’t believe, if arrested for selling weed as a non-chosen CCC, I’d be convicted by a jury of my peers. If Murphy signs this bill I don’t think the state could get 12 people to convict me.

But that said, I’d rather Governor Murphy do as he campaigned, by bringing diversity to this new marijuana reality. Murphy should not sign any law that doesn’t allow minorities to operate micro-dispensaries in urban development zones. This law must create growth industries in the hoods and totally stop any arrests for marijuana, marijuana growing, and distribution. A real legalization bill will have (1) home grow, (2) job protection, and (3) social equity embedded.

I have openly advocated legalization for more than two decades and have been punished unjustly for it. I have lost jobs, family relations, and my own freedom and now the state is creating a bill that would exclude me and others like me. We didn’t protest, demand, and publicize legalization for these cannabaggers and corrupt politicians to create a marijuana industry that excludes us.

Ed Forchion, also known as NJWeedman, is a cannabis activist who often runs for various New Jersey elected offices under the banner of the Legalize Marijuana Party. He runs a restaurant, NJ Weedman’s Joint, across the street from City Hall in Trenton. This op-ed first appeared on his blog at www.njweedman.com.

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