"I find it so highly offensive that we would need an outside influence to tell us what we can do in our neighborhood," she fumes. "Most of the reason why we're so against Breakwater coming here is because we know our area. And we know how this is going to change the character of the area."
Evans says he's delighted by the opposition to Breakwater and the other ATCs. Anti-pot to the hilt, Evans cites numerous studies that claim marijuana is harmful, particularly to people suffering from cancer and HIV/AIDS. He says there’s no scientific basis for medical marijuana, and points out that smoked marijuana has never been approved as medicine by the Food and Drug Administration. Evans thinks the public has been hoodwinked by medical marijuana advocates whose real goal, he believes, is the legalization of recreational weed, which, he says, "would be a disaster."
"These medical marijuana people make very compassionate arguments and they bring in people in wheelchairs, and everybody says 'Ohhhh' and their hearts melt and they say, 'Give them whatever they want,'" says Evans, who also disputes the veracity of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
"If you ask, 'Are you in favor of giving marijuana to people who are dying and in pain?' then sure, everybody would say, 'Yeah.' But if you ask, 'Are you in favor of giving people a medicine that isn't safe or effective and hasn't been approved by the FDA?' then people would not be in favor of it."
Breakwater says that if the Upper Freehold ordinance is passed on Dec. 15, they'll challenge it in court. A statement issued by the company last week read, in part, "We will use every means at our disposal to enforce our right to own and operate a greenhouse facility that complies with existing zoning regulations...this course of action would be both expensive and regrettable for all parties involved."
In a subsequent phone conversation, a Breakwater representative reiterated the company's intention to make a stand in Upper Freehold rather than give up and seek an alternate site—as other ATCs have done—and endure similar struggles in other towns.
Goldstein says that if the state's medical marijuana program wasn't so over-regulated, and that home cultivation was allowed, the current mess wouldn't exist. Still, he believes Christie and members of the New Jersey Legislature could put a stop to all of the delays and maneuverings by publicly exerting pressure on municipalities to comply with the Act. But he says their silence speaks volumes.
"It's all politics—they can have the appearance of being compassionate, but at the same time they can know that on the ground they're never really going to have an operating program," says Goldstein, who says that most patients in New Jersey have given up hope that they'll ever be able to get their hands on legal medicinal marijuana.
"This program has been designed to fail."
The officer who had just pulled Ed Forchion over was about to learn a few things about the bearded black guy with the long dreads. One: Forchion was the infamous “New Jersey Weedman”—unrepentant ganja smoker, loudmouth legalization advocate and longtime folk hero to a sizeable marijuana community in Philly, South Jersey and all across the nation. Two: Forchion’s New Jersey driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay child support. And three: Forchion had a pound of high-grade, vacuum-sealed marijuana in a duffel bag in the trunk of his car.
Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s surprise announcement last week that he was finally implementing the state’s medical marijuana law—after stalling it for 18 months—many advocates remain less than impressed with the new program. Their beef is with a heap of onerous regulations they say undermines both the spirit and practicality of the law.
Is the Christie administration trying to pull the plug on N.J.'s medical marijuana law?
The Christie Administration has been asking for more time to implement the law and PW has learned that the bill's chief sponsor, State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, is going to give it to them.