Six months ago, a man named Dan Kessel from Berkeley Township stated that his “goal” is for his business to be legal. What’s his business? Bud Hub—a marijuana buying and shipping company that he ran along with his sister. Since October 20, 2021, Mr. Dan Kessel has been convicted without bail and been detained at the Ocean County Correctional Facility. He was arrested due to marijuana possession, money laundering, and pot distribution, the Berkeley Township Police Department stated.

Among the stuff that has been confiscated in his home in Berkeley, the authorities also seized his property in Toms River where his Jeep Cherokee with the Bud Hub logo is located. The police also took his cash amounting to $400,000, and an unidentified amount of cannabis.

Marijuana Possession in New Jersey

When it comes to the “gray” cannabis industry, 36-year-old Kessel stands out as the most recent individual to be busted for selling items and services that are legal but not permitted to be offered.

As of writing, the state officials have yet to agree on legalizing cannabis, therefore, New Jersey still has no approved establishment, retail or wholesale, in the Garden state that people can operate.

Additionally, news has been around about the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ cease and desist letters that have been issued to companies, such as Slumped Kitchen LLC, West Winds Wellness, Sky High Munchies, and LLC.

Additionally, the state’s Consumer Affairs Division is probing five allegations involving gifting companies, such as Bud Hub, CBD of Newton; Dirty Jerzey Supplies in Randolph and Butler; and Gifted Jawn in Medford, a spokesman said.

Some patients, recreational users, and campaigners expressed their displeasure over Kessel’s situation, claiming that these unlicensed enterprises are whom they trust when it comes to buying cheaper pot while they wait for New Jersey’s legal market to start sometime next year.

Medical Marijuana Practitioners

Members of the New Jersey Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, a consumer advocacy group, issued a statement on Friday saying they “do not support unlawful action, even if we acknowledge and appreciate civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws.”

In addition, several medical marijuana practitioners and those who plan to enter the adult-use market praised Kessel’s arrest.

Steve Schain, a cannabis lawyer with Smart-Counsel, stated, “Good,” upon hearing of the arrest of Bud Hub owner. “Giving feeds the underground economy. In the end, “it’s a smudge on the industry.”

“We’re a genuine business, when one of these renegades breaks the law, it hurts the industry a little bit,” he stated.

With the purchase of baked goods, a t-shirt, or any other harmless item from a gifting and delivery business’s website, customers can select from a menu of cannabis items that are free.

Washington D.C. has been using a loophole like this for a long time, where recreational marijuana is legal but not available for purchase. DeVaughn Ward, senior legal counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, says the gray market occurs alongside the conventional illegal or black market.

“This happened in the early days of Colorado,” Ward added. Having a controlled market, as well as a legitimate means to enter into that market, is essential.

The majority of gifting and delivery activities take place in parks when a tiny quantity of merchandise is exchanged and given, Ward added. A police seizure of $400,000 in cash was not a normal case, Ward said.

According to him, the $400,000 in cash was not part of any sort of “gifting scheme.” Before Bud Hub, there have been a number of gray market collapses. An illegal marijuana shop called THC JARZ was shut down by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office earlier this year. “A significant amount” of cannabis, edibles, THC waxes, and oil, and around $15,000 were seized after undercover detectives bought weed at the shop, according to the attorney general’s office.

The selling of cannabis and THC goods in New Jersey is still illegal, notwithstanding recent changes to the state’s marijuana laws. New Jersey prosecutor Mark Musella advised citizens to be aware of their legal rights and to notify authorities of any illicit activities.

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