TRENTON — Medical cannabis patients united with legalization advocates for a rally in Trenton today, culminating with about 75 participants lighting up joints across the street from the Statehouse in protest of Gov. Chris Christie’s position on marijuana issues.

The peaceful demonstration drew more than 250 people, none of whom was arrested for what one of the organizers described as a “very bold act of civil disobedience.” The rally took place outside the capital and was observed by a handful of State troopers, but the smoking took place across the street on city property at the World War II Memorial. Trenton Police were not present.

Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, said he saw the demonstration as a necessary step after failing to make headway using traditional means of reform. There are several bills pending in the legislature, “but they are going nowhere” because lawmakers know the governor will veto them, he said. The coalition was involved in bringing a lawsuit against the state for failing to operate the program as the law intended, but that was dismissed.

“We’re pretty desperate,” said Wolski, a nurse. “What other redress do we have for our grievances?”

Wolski said he did not worry the protest would alienate people who support medical marijuana but are uncomfortable with legalization — and may criticize the public smoking at the rally.

“I think this is a very nice crowd. I am very proud to be a part of this,” Wolski said.

Smoking publicly “felt really normal,” said a woman who identified herself as Marion from Edison and the wife of a registered medical marijuana patient – one of about 3,000 in New Jersey. “It felt good. It felt free.”

Cannabis is helping her husband’s glaucoma, Marion said, but the dispensary prices are too high, and …read more