ROSELAND, NJ — Four medicinal marijuana advocates addressed the Roseland Borough Council on Tuesday to question the recent adoption of an ordinance that prohibits the sale, dispensing and manufacturing of medical marijuana within the borough.

None of the speakers were residents of the borough, but all of them had reason to believe the borough should reconsider the ordinance that was passed in October 2019.

Among the speakers was Edward “Lefty” Grimes, a resident of East Hanover whose business card notes that he is a “Christian Shock Jock” and an “advocate for the sick and dying,” is associated with Sativa Cross, an activist group that is currently on an “No Excuse Tour” to bring awareness to the needs of medical marijuana patients across the state.

Sign Up for West Essex Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

He stated that the decision was “anti-humane and anti-Christian,” adding that the council was wrong to “create barriers” and “stigmatize the medicine that is helpful to many people in New Jersey.” Grimes also expressed his belief that the members of the council are “racists” and “not compassionate.”

Patient advocate Mike Vintzileos explained that he is a former heroin addict who has now been opioid-free for 22 months thanks to his participation in the medical marijuana program. He proclaimed that by passing the ordinance, the council is guilty of “disgusting, ignorant and horrible behavior," adding that the borough “should make it easier for patients to get access.”

JoAnne Zito, who is associated with the Coalition of Medical Marijuana New Jersey, commented that it was contradictory for the council to ban medical marijuana when it also acknowledged a resident undergoing cancer treatment around the same time this fall. She urged the council to “rethink the ordinance and show compassion.”

Aubrey Conway, who serves on the medical advisory board of Breakwater Treatment & Wellness in Cranbury, also requested that the council reconsider the ordinance.

“By having sales legal within the borough, you can save a family member or patient an extra one, two-or three-hour drive,” she said. “Patients should have access to medical marijuana in Roseland.”

There are currently seven dispensaries within the State of New Jersey, with the closest one to Roseland located in Montclair.

Two Roseland residents, William Tedesco and Christine Mariano, objected to the advocates’ comments and took offense to members of the governing body being labeled as “racists.”

Mayor James Spango stated after the council meeting that no community residents enrolled in the program have contacted since the first reading of the ordinance in the fall.