MMJ Patient Arrested at Senator Booker’s Press Conference

Arrest at the Marijuana Justice Rally

My son and I were tucked into the shade of a pine tree when I heard glass shatter. Senator Booker was running late that Friday afternoon on August 4th. My 10-year-old and I went to the rally for his newly unveiled bill, the Marijuana Justice Act. A small crowd waited at the foot of the courthouse steps.

My first thought was, I wonder if that was Lefty’s bong. Lefty, a fellow medical marijuana patient often carries a bong and films himself using it. I kept an eye on the commotion from afar.


This is a serious issue affecting families. Watch my son and I discuss it.

The chaos quickly escalated.

The broken glass did come from Lefty, but it was worse than breaking his bong. Lefty dropped his bottle of medical marijuana and the glass shattered. The incident completely ruined his medication. I felt for him. (MMJ is expensive in NJ!!)

Now, if you’re wondering why Lefty was carrying around a glass bottle of weed, it’s because the bizarre NJ MMJ laws REQUIRE him to. The bottles don’t have to be glass, but patients are obligated to carry the original containers purchased from the dispensary. Lefty’s dispensary uses glass.

Then, Lefty’s bad day got worse.

Soon, Lefty was in handcuffs and screaming profanities in pain. Like I said, Lefty is a medical marijuana patient, which means he has a fairly serious medical issue.

He was screaming and crying. My son and I were upset, “Why don’t they just check his card?” my son asked me several times visibly shaken by the rest.

The crowd was upset and reiterated to the officers that the patient was in pain. A police officer yelled back to the crowd, “He’s not in pain.”

(Dude- pain is subjective–that means no one except the patient can determine if it exists or not. Not a police officer, not Joe Arpaio, not even King Trump can determine someone else’s pain by outside observation.)

Who Is The Guy Who Got Arrested at Booker’s Press Conference

I admire and support Lefty’s cause. I adore his dedication. Still, I’m not completely comfortable with his anarchistic vibe.

I imagine the police and prosecutors are uncomfortable with it also, which is he suggests may be one of the reasons he was arrested.

Lefty is not a picture perfect cannabis patient.

Lefty (aka Ed Grimes) is a shock-jock style NJ cannabis advocate. He’s the founder of Sativa Cross and hosts a regular “potcast” (er, podcast about pot) with the Coalition of Medical Marijuana.

He also hosts a facebook live show titled, Ignorance Is No Excuse (INE).  INE visits various police stations around NJ to draw attention to the little known and often misunderstood CUMMA law (the laws protecting NJ MMJ patients).

Now again, I support Lefty’s cause and admire his dedication, however, I’m also uncomfortable with his frequent verbal onslaught against police officers in general. I know there are some real jerks in uniform, but

I know there are some real jerks in uniform, but there are some great heroes out there wearing blue too.

Nonetheless, Lefty is creating awareness.

His videos CLEARLY demonstrate that not enough NJ police officers understand CUMMA law. Because of this LEGAL NJ patients are being harassed, arrested, and having their medication STOLEN by misguided police officers. 

NJ Medical Marijuana Patients Have RIGHTS!

Why Don’t Police Officers Understand CUMMA?

It seems like no one in NJ’s government made them learn about CUMMA so most officers don’t know.

Maybe it’s because marijuana patients only make up 0.14% of the NJ population? Maybe there just aren’t enough of us to be worthy of the energy.

You’d think with the obscene amount of money NJ is collecting in taxes on medical marijuana (the ONLY medication to be taxed), they’d invest in education to help protect the patients


So Why Did Lefty Get Arrested?

Now officers are insisting that Lefty broke his medication bottle intentionally and are pursuing charges of disorderly conduct.

Lefty, who doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge his other outrageous antics, maintains that he did not intentionally break his medication bottle. He appears upset in this video recording of the incident.

Linden Police Department has not released the bodycam footage of the incident yet.

Lefty maintains he was only arrested after he attempted to light a joint (his legal medical marijuana) several minutes after the bottle fell and broke.

He also points out that his medication was “ripped out of his mouth” by the officer as he attempted to use it. That’s when he was arrested.

The broken bottle of marijuana was completely ignored. The officers did not attempt to clean it up or even restrict access to it.

Lefty was arrested for disorderly conduct and was taken away from the scene in an ambulance.  He attended his arraignment and the court is prosecuting him for disorderly conduct. His next appearance is in September.

NJ – Please stop arresting patients and stop confiscating legal medication.

Later, Lefty visited the Attorney General’s office to discuss the matter. The AGs office instructed him to write a letter to the Police Training Commission.

Why are marijuana patients responsible for educating the police about current laws?

No one seems able to answer that question.

Senator Booker’s officer seemed unaware of the incident or the fact that legal patients are being arrested. Senator Scutari’s office is the office prosecuting Lefty for the incident. The state Attorney General’s office directed us to the Police Training Commission and the Police Training Commission has yet to respond.


Take Action

According to their website, the Police Training Commission is “Responsible for the Development and Certification of basic training courses for county and local law enforcement officials in New Jersey.”

I spoke with Joseph Walsch, the Police Training Commissioner, he said that the basic police training courses DO NOT include guidance regarding the Medical Marijuana Program or CUMMA.  New police officers are not learning the correct laws.

He said a directive was sent out by the Attorney General’s office in 2016 (most likely by email, informing police departments to educate their officers. unfortunately not every police department has taken inititiative.

Walsch said he has no problem suggesting it be added when they update the course next, but he said he has NO IDEA when that might be. Also, in order for it to be added, approval has to be voted on by 16 commissioners.

Until then, he said any patient arrested or misinformed by police officers should file a complaint with Internal Affairs.


Written by Jessie Gill

Jessie Gill, RN is a cannabis nurse with a background in holistic health and hospice. After suffering a spinal injury, she reluctantly became a medical marijuana patient then quickly transitioned into an advocate. Her site, combines science with personal insight to educate about medical marijuana. She’s been featured on Viceland and bylines include GoodHousekeeping, Cosmopolitan, MSN, and more.

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