“So where can you smoke pot in New Jersey?” I ask Lefty Grimes of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana who, along with Chuck Kwiatkowski, are the “Sativa Cross” duo, two medical marijuana patients, musicians, and activists. They’ve been traveling the Garden State for the “Ignorance is No Excuse Tour,” to visit local police departments to inquire where they may smoke their legally acquired cannabis.
The pair are recording and uploading the encounters to Youtube, and they’re all worth watching.
And where can you get high in New Jersey? “Anywhere you can smoke tobacco,” Lefty tells me, and this is the case for patients who law enforcement officials can determine are duly prescribed for a medical need, with additional exceptions prohibiting use before operating machinery or various winged and wheeled vehicles.
Despite the apparent relative ease with which licensed cannabis patients can consume their medication, medical marijuana law in New Jersey has been a stuttered and truncated body of legislation under Governor Chris Christie, since he assumed office not long after the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law by his predecessor John Corzine in 2010.
There are currently only about 2,000 legal medical marijuana patients in the state of almost 9 million people (Compare this figure to 111,030 medical marijuana patients in Colorado, population 5 1/2 million). Lefty says another primary motivation for the tour is to increase awareness of the need for marijuana as a medical treatment.
In Red Bank an officer advises the men against publicly smoking (“It’s the Christie thing…” he tells them.)
What is encouraging is that pretty much every meeting seems to involve a genuine learning experience – what is discouraging is that even in larger cities such as Trenton (population ~ 85,000), officers are misinformed about the legality of marijuana use, if not under the impression that the substance is outright banned for consumption by the general public. Sativa Cross has visited about a dozen stations so far, and the campaign is ongoing.
You can learn more about Lefty and Chuck at http://sativacross.com/.