Welcome Back to #NJRR Live!
We are back with #NJRR Live! We are happy to be here again, talking to you about grassroots activism and taking your comments on the show. If you’re reading this, remember that you can post your comments on any of our livestreams and we will be able to read them, post them on the screen, and respond live. There are no promises that we will address every comment, but so far, we have responded to most.
Corruption in Labor Unions
We begin tonight by discussing something Brian is familiar with: labor unions. Brian is a union organizer by trade. He knows that when you center a labor union around a political party, it loses its original foundation. A union should be about ensuring that workers are compensated fairly and equally for their labor. Having abandoned that goal, the leadership of most unions today is corrupt. A lot of union presidents are paid 6 figure salaries and are only concerned with seeking more and more power. Brian names names: some bigger ones are SCIU, AFT and Randi Weingartner, CWA and Chris Shelton are just some among many.
Today, Unions place bets in who is going to win rather than supporting grassroots candidates with intentions to actually help the people. Unions have political power, but they misplace it. Again, the primary goal of most modern union leadership is to attain more power, and they always act selfishly in accordance with it. Union members need to step up and become more aware of where their dues are going. Unions should also be electing, not appointing, shop stewards. If union leadership is allowed to appoint shop stewards, they will do so with only their own best interests in mind.
Trial Of A Murderous Cop
We touch again, as we did on last night’s #Idavox Report, on the trial of Derek Chauvez (the officer who murdered George Floyd.) Brian is relieved to see that the trial even got this far. He believes that a legitimate trial in this case is the result of tireless organizing and protesting by activists this summer in the wake of the event. Although this is progress, Brian is still disheartened. The police force in America is deeply broken in many aspects. Brian also fears that Democrats will become self-satisfied if Chauvez is convicted and seek no further progress regarding police violence.
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#NJRR Live Welcomes Sanjay Chaudhari
Tonight’s special guest is Sanjay Chaudhari, self-described “horticulturist, economist, environmentalist, geneticist, trader, healer, activist, dreamer.” He has worn a lot of different hats in his career. He has a few different businesses and many different interests. He has been a legacy grower in several states. Sanjay has bipolar disorder, which he has managed holistically through cannabis use. Through his work with cannabis, he aims to create medicine for people who are not just looking to get high, but to be medicated and thus improve their lives.
Unfortunately for Sanjay, research on cannabis has been stifled by federal laws. This makes his line of work more difficult because there is not as much information available to him. In order to conduct real research, it is extremely helpful to have a large and varied sample size. However, again, this is currently impossible due to the criminalization of cannabis on the federal level.
Legalization and Innovation
New York will be the next state in the county to legalize cannabis recreationally. Some rather conservative states will likely never legalize the plant, at least not for the foreseeable future. Federal legalization, whenever that happens, will probably come first.
Cannabis has gotten more potent in THC percentage in recent years. Brian speculates that this could be because of the worldwide effects of countries overseas legalizing the plant. Sanjay is not so sure, offering that America has always pushed boundaries, and innovation in cannabis potency is no exception. Regardless of how the relevant science progressed, potent medicine has helped many cannabis patients manage symptoms such as pain. They are able to do so without relying on opiates or other pharmaceutical painkillers.
Sanjay lost access to his children because of cannabis injustice. In a custody battle, his cannabis use was weaponized against him even though he has conditions that legally qualify him for medical use. This injustice birthed Sanjay as an activist.
Sanjay reiterates that it is unreasonable that weed has been illegal for so long. The Spanish word marijuana(marihuana) has been historically emphasized over the word cannabis in order to associate it with racist ideas about Spanish immigrants.
The corporate cannabis industry in America is corrupt. Companies use shady business practices and cut corners where they can. For example, Brian shares that companies like Curaleaf, which are worth billions, sell moldy weed and shake the crystals off of their product before selling it in order to use them for other products. They are only concerned with profits. The corporate recreational cannabis industry in New Jersey doesn’t exist yet, but Brian is pessimistic about how it will develop.
Impact of Cannabis
Sanjay predicts that New Jersey, even for how cool it already is, is about to get a lot cooler, despite lingering problems such as presence of mafia, widespread political corruption, big pharma, and high taxes. No other state is tackling consumption lounges. Sanjay imagines that the state will have cannabis (sports) bars, coffee shops, clubs, and more.
Cannabis has had a positive impact on Sanjay’s life in several ways. Sanjay used to drink at night as a teen in order to fall asleep until he found the plant. He used to work on Wall Street and own a successful hedge fund. However, in his own words, he did not like being a capitalist. It kept him up at night. He left his hedge fund and started developing a company that makes fertile soil for cannabis (and other plant) growth.
Sanjay owns a company called Sweet Virginia Soil, which “combines the finest horticultural ingredients from around the world to create a fertile and nutrient dense soil for heavy feeding plants.” Read: It’s perfect soil for growing weed. You can visit the company’s website to check it out.
Until next week at 8 PM EST, stay safe and stay informed.
-Leah Giannantonio, for the Revolution Radio Network