CHATHAM, NJ – A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.
The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer Madness" in reference to misconceptions about cannabis. Edward "Lefty" Grimes calls their visits to local governments the "Ignorance is No Excuse Tour."
The group said it was triggered to attend the Chatham Borough meeting after Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter said in his annual January address that he would seek to prohibit the sale of marijuana in the township if Gov. Phil Murphy went ahead with his plan to legalize recreational use of the drug.
Grimes, who lives in East Hanover, would like to see a medical marijuana dispensary in Chatham since he has to drive an hour to his closest facility. Grimes said that he got off pain medications, including opioids, by using cannabis. He mentions Chatham Township and vacant storefronts in the video below.
Rose McGill, who came to the Chatham meeting from Lawrenceville, made the case about the health benefits of cannabis.
Chatham Township resident John Strelkoff disagreed (see video below) with the advocates and said that the danger of legalization could be that people will get "the false perception that it is harmless." He also was concerned with teenagers driving while under the influence and questioned its effectiveness as a pain medication.
Amy Roth of Springfield said she learned a great deal about marijuana by working in a dispensary said that some of the benefits from cannabis have been "miraculous."
Hugh Giordano of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union said he came to the borough council meeting because he heard Chatham Township wanted to ban marijuana. He talked about the economic benefits he associates with the marijuana industry (in video below).
Christian Velasquez of Dover (in video below) said cannabis is the safer alternative to alcohol and pharmaceuticals. He said he wants to end the "Reefer Madness" he's been living the last eight years and urged the council members to do their own research.