Home Lavallette Government Legalization Activists Bring Advice, Weed to Lavallette Council Meeting

Legalization Activists Bring Advice, Weed to Lavallette Council Meeting

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Edward "Lefty" Grimes, in green, at the Dec. 18, 2017 borough council meeting. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Edward “Lefty” Grimes, in green, at the Dec. 18, 2017 borough council meeting. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

It’s not particularly common to smell the skunky aroma of marijuana at the entrance to a police station, but the first floor of Lavallette’s municipal building, which houses the department, got a hefty dose Monday night when a group of marijuana legalization advocates showed up to express their opinions at a borough council meeting.

Edward “Lefty” Grimes, the group’s leader, was upset to see that Lavallette officials want to ban pot sales in town if the plant becomes legal in New Jersey – a campaign promise made by incoming Gov. Phil Murphy. Grimes, of East Hanover, is planning to protest a similar measure in Point Pleasant Beach at that town’s meeting on Tuesday night.

The group broadcast their protest on Facebook Live to about 25 viewers, part of what Grimes calls the “Ignorance is no Excuse Tour.”  Rose McGill, of Lawrenceville, said the council should be “armed with the facts, rather than panic and fear” when it comes to marijuana policy.

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Marijuana can be sold in a “mature, dignified and low-key manner,” the opposite of how bars promote the use of alcohol, said McGill, adding that access to cannabis is not something residents should fear.

“Most people who use cannabis prefer to purchase it discreetly,” she said. “Your residents who are patients, or disabled, should not have to go through another town to get medicine.”

“There are homebound people in Lavallette who won’t come here tonight because they’re afraid,” said Grimes. “They feel there’s a stigma here in Lavallette, because of the article that was just written.”

Cannabis has gotten a bad rap because corporations, as well as powerful government figures, conducted disinformation campaigns invoking communism, racism and other issues to influence people against the plant, said Grimes, who called prohibition “last century thinking.”

Grimes said the prescription dangerously-addictive narcotic painkiller fentanyl could be sold in Lavallette’s pharmacies, but marijuana sales would be banned if the council was to get its wish. Alcohol and tobacco are also sold in town, “but marijuana is not family friendly?” Grimes rhetorically asked, responding to the view that Lavallette, as a family-oriented resort, would not be a good location to open a dispensary.

The borough has tasked its attorney with crafting an ordinance that would ban the sale of marijuana in Lavallette in the case it becomes legal. The attorney, Philip George, said the town will wait until the state acts to formally vote on a ban.

“If you want to do it in your house, I don’t have a problem with that, but if you want to do it on our streets, selling it next to ice cream shops, etcetera, I’m against it,” Councilman David Finter said at a meeting earlier this month.

Council members listened quietly to the group’s speakers, who all acted in a calm and respectful manner. Some officials, however, were put off by the fact that members of the group had apparently smoked marijuana outside the front door of the building. The unique smell of the plant overtook the building’s first floor as well as the elevator and was mentioned by numerous residents who attended the meeting.

“The police were in contact before, and they told me there was nothing they could do,” said Mayor Walter LaCicero, of the incident.

The group’s members who use cannabis have medical marijuana cards, meaning they broke no laws by smoking in public.

Point Pleasant Beach has already formally introduced its ban on marijuana sales. Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz also called for a ban on sales in his town.

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  • Tom Messner

    I don’t want to see people in jail for possession of marijuana but it should not be legalized. “Medical’ marijuana is a joke. Prescription medicine will have a dosage prescribed and instructions on use. No doubt marijuana may help some people but it appears many more have sought and acquired marijuana prescriptions illegitimately.

  • Mmatko

    No reason for Lavallette to lower its standards and add a dispensary, if you need MEDICAL Marijuana go to a pharmacy. Mayor LaCicero is on point his concerns are for tax payers, voters and then visitors. Not recreational marijuana users!

    • Sharon Gilham

      I hope you never get Ill enough to need it, unfortunately for some they need it now

      • Mmatko

        When I get sick my doctor prescribes medicine and I pick It up at the pharmacy. Same should apply for medicinal marijuana.

        • Eric Karsh

          C’mon man you need to be better educated. I like buying my medicine knowing where and how it’s grown. I would never trust big pharma with my medicine. Ohh and the “medicine” your doctor prescribes to you is what’s keeping you sick.

          • Mmatko

            The medicine my doctor gives me makes me feel better. Adhering to a conspiracy theory that big pharma makes you sicker is that a conspiracy theory with no proof escalated during an opioid investigation. The dispensary should not be In Lavallette.

          • Eric Karsh

            Yes it should you poorly educated man. Not only Lavalette but ALL shore towns will have it.

          • Mmatko

            And insults such as yours and your inability to discuss a subject without slewing jabs at opposing views shows who is truly uneducated.
            The Lavallette tax payers, the Mayor, and the voters will not permit the dispensary. If it is (and I can assure with the current Mayor, thankfully, it will not be) voted in by the governing body of Lavallette not by push from conspiracy theorists or out of town advocates, I will accept it. Otherwise, the folks who truly need it, will and do already drive to existing dispensaries. No need to have Dunkin’ Donuts, Jersey Mike’s and Weed Depot in the same store fronts.

          • Eric Karsh

            This is going no where. Have a great day!

          • Goodgrief

            Is “poorly educated” a battle cry of your political choice? You do seem to over use it.

        • Bill Lommey

          Mmatko, Doesn’t that make the local pharmacy a dispensary for medical marijuana? In that case, What’s the need for a separate dispensary ? I would think that the town would force the local pharmacy to get a special license.

    • Carl McKay

      because they are low enough with alcohol stores there already right ?

      • Mmatko

        Prohibition was repealed in 1933, marijuana is still illegal unless you have a prescription. The TWO (2) liquor stores in Lavallette applied for business permits and were approved by a town vote, there was no attempted influence from out of town advocates, it was the business owner and the city council. And, anyone who applies for any type of business in Lavallette knows the process is reviewed meticulously to ensure it fits the towns culture and then voted on. I don’t see this dispensary fitting in.

  • baylady

    I don’t have any problems with marijuana, but to sell it in Lavallette would be a bad idea. Lavallette is a very small town. Thousands of people would come there if there if there was a dispensary to make a purchase and little Lavallette doesn’t need those traffic jams, especially in the summer when the traffic is already very bad. Pick another place, that’s all.

  • Goodgrief

    Activists thumbing their noses at authority.

    • Eric Karsh

      Sheep following along blindly

      • Goodgrief

        Eric, look at that idiot’s picture. It screams silliness and laughs. We are not sheep. We are adults who want this little town to stay the way that has made it so special. Not an extension of Seaside Heights.

  • revraygreen