Asbury forum hopes to erase stigma behind marijuana use

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ASBURY PARK -

A forum in Asbury Park is hoping to educate the public amid a push to legalize marijuana across the state.

The Grassroots Cannabis Forum in Kennedy Park was hosted by the company Haute Box to attempt to dispel potential stigma around marijuana.

One entrepreneur involved says he wants attendees to leave with a positive opinion of cannabis.

"I want them to leave with the knowledge that cannabis is here to help people," said Ian Nugent, of Haute Box. "That it's here to leave a positive impact. Whether it be economic, medicinal or just making sure everyone feels comfortable and not overly persecuted."

Even though marijuana is not legal in the state, there were still products to buy at the forum. Pipes, grow lamps, gummies and a drink with cannabis in it were all available for sale.

Hosts of the event say they are able to sell it because there is no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in any of the products.

Based on Facebook invites, the group expected 250 to 300 people to show up to the event.

Gov. Murphy said earlier this year he wanted marijuana legalized by July 1, but the issue was not part of the recently-concluded budget talks.

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