In 2020, NJ voters decided by a 2-1 majority to legalize marijuana / cannabis. The referendum authorized the NJ legislature to define guidelines and regulations to regulate cannabis trade, possession and use. The legistlature defined a process that empowers multinational corporations, many based in Canada, Wall Street and investment houses as the pre-eminent beneficiaries of NJ’s cannabis resources including the lucrative market of NJ’s recreational and medical consumer base, a vast potential for decentralized cultivation, as per the state’s nickname of “The Garden State.” So while the legalization of this industry in NJ will result in billions in profits, the cannabis revenue stimulus is being pumped out of the state and NJ residents are denied an opportunity to fully reap the economic benefits of this industry – being forced to compete with each other and beg from a self aggrandized permit application process that will turn down probably over 90% of applications received.
Meanwhile cultivation is still a felony – it is literally a felony in NJ to press a cannabis seed into the dirt. NJ is preparng a crackdown against alternative traders who are the only ones that have provided any opportunity to receive recreational cannabis in NJ in the over 1 year since we voted to legalize – a crackdown that has already begun. Taxes are being used to fund the policy task forces and prosecutions. And taxes from the recreational officially sanctioned trade will further fund the police crackdown on the unofficial competition to the big corporate weed establishments.
This purpose of this proposal is to form an association to oppose all police crackdown and to make demands for changes in how cannabis is regulated:
* to take regulation completely out of the hands of police and courts and to regulate it like other legal NJ industries.
* to legalize cultivation and eliminate all police involvement in cultivation enforcement.
* to support and defend those who are subject to police crackdown legally and politically through protest and demands to drop charges.
* to demand an end to funding for police cannabis enforcement and prosecutions
Proposed Action Plan
The following are some suggested steps:
Initial Launch Discussions with prominent education voices to delineate this issue, lay out the action plan and delineate what is at stake. Discussions can be in person and via zoom, etc.
Draft Statement of teachers and other school professionals, students, academics, community and other supporters defending truthful teaching of history in NJ schools, denouncing these attacks from right wing extremists, calling upon districts to resist these pressures and demanding the full implementation of Amistad Act once and for all.
Mobilization at board meetings where these issues are beign discussed and possibly holding of protest rallies against these attacks.
Issue Responses to each of these ‘controversies’ at the district level as they arise.
Create Network of organizations and individuals dedicated to joining this fight.
Staff effort with at least one compensated coordinator – more if possible – supported through fundraising as well as from fund support from participating organizations
Potential Organizational and Individual Resources
One prominent NJ initiative that can hopefully play a key role is MAPSO Freedom School. This teachers led organization has already consistently organized around these curriculum issues and regularly hosts topical events around these issues. They are solidly networked with faculty, students and advocates throughout the state.
Another organization that has led marches demanding full implementation of the Amistad Act is Peoples Organization for Progress.
Melissa Tomlinson of Bad Ass Teachers has called for similar actions and Black Lives Matter advocate Kason Little has endorsed such action.
Newark teacher and co-founder of Newark Anti-Violence Coalition Bashir Muhammad Ptah Akinyele recently called for complete Amistad Act implementation.
Principal Baruti Kafele a well known NJ advocate of Black History is likely also to be supportive.
Critical to the success of this effort will be staffing a fully supported effort . Initially we should set out to develop funding for one fulltime staff. The tasks of the staff would be to monitor the developments around the state, engage discussion with the active participants and carry out the plan of actions. We can promote a funding site once we decide the best way to administer the funding. Participating organizations with the resources should be encouraged also to provide consistent support for the staffing.
The following is a list of individuals and organizations supporting this effort:
Some of the threats in NJ needing fightback
Town Council in Woodbrige, NJ Silent, Duplicitous as Residents Voice Opposition to Proud Boys in Meeting – Idavox
Controversy Stirs Over Censorship Of Hillsborough Student’s Art | Hillsborough, NJ Patch
Controversy Stirs Over Censorship Of Hillsborough Student’s Art – Hillsborough, NJ – The poster was part of an African American display in the Hillsborough Middle School depicting a point of view around policing in America.
Letter: A Proud Black American Reflects On Westfield’s Toni Morrison Book Controversy | Westfield, NJ News TAPinto
Someone described the entire book as pornographic, Really? Last time I checked, pornography is sold in the adult section of a corner store.
Westfield Parents Object to Toni Morrison Book. Curriculum Approval on Hold | Westfield, NJ News TAPinto
Parents raised concerns about the novel “The Bluest Eye” being included in the curriculum for the course entitled “American Studies.”
Following states adopted KKK social studies curriculum:
An ‘exclusive’ interview with Rhode Island’s Critical Race Karen’s Black friend – TheGrio
Writer Michael Harriot courageously tracks down the “Black friend” described in Rhode Island State Rep. Patricia Morgan’s now viral tweet.
Schools could face penalties if they teach race or gender issues | wbir.com
It’s a concept that’s caused heated debate from families all across Tennessee: how to teach about race in the classroom.
Join the fightback – Here are the groups and initiatives organizing around this issue: