On June 9, NJ Hashish Insider will host the Backyard State’s first-ever Cannabis Business Awards gala, celebrating the people and corporations that helped form the trade. The black-tie affair on the Carteret Performing Arts Middle can be in contrast to something seen earlier than in New Jersey’s hashish area. A Who’s Who of established and up-and-coming solid of energy gamers will come collectively for one evening to acknowledge excellence and achievements within the area during the last 12 months.
Whereas winners in eight classes can be revealed on the evening of the gala, we’re asserting the Writer’s Alternative awards upfront. Immediately, we put a highlight on the inaugural winner of Excellence in Training: Rob Mejia.
Rob Mejia is an adjunct professor at Stockton University in Galloway, a self-described serial entrepreneur who based the training firm Our Group Harvest, and the creator of a number of books with the purpose to tell the general public in regards to the hashish plant. He’s additionally half proprietor of Backyard State Canna Collective, a girl enterprise enterprise (WBE) comprised of numerous companions that not too long ago received a cultivation license in North Jersey.
“He goes above and past,” stated Ekaterina Sedia, a Stockton College biology professor and coordinator of the Minor in Hashish program. “He’s by no means content material to relaxation on what he has. He’s at all times in search of extra methods to present.”
On the day the hashish market opened in New Jersey, a tireless Mejia moderated a dialogue with greater than 40 professors from throughout the nation who joined him on Zoom to collaborate and talk about growing requirements to show hashish at their campuses. Among the many professors in attendance had been a number of from New Jersey universities, together with Rowan, Raritan and Montclair State.
“I’ve at all times believed within the energy of group,” stated Mejia, who lives along with his life-long spouse Beth Ann in Mahwah. “Group training for me is among the large issues.”
A second-generation Mexican-American, Mejia was born in Denver, the sixth of 13 youngsters. He credit his household, lots of whom had been educators — his father a social science instructor and his mom a journalist — for his knack and deep drive to coach and inform. He left Denver for Washington DC to attend Georgetown College, the place he performed high tier tennis for 4 years whereas he pursued a liberal arts diploma.
He leveraged his expertise in publishing at Georgetown to a job with renown writer St. Martin Press, the place he labored carefully with school professors to develop supplies they wanted for his or her classes.
He got here to New Jersey after a profitable stint in Denver as an creator of a novelty e book, which later spawned a line of attire, furnishings and associated merchandise. It’s there the place he began his household. Mejia has six grownup youngsters, all male, ages 33 to twenty. Across the time Colorado was getting ready to open its hashish market, Mejia realized in regards to the want for hashish training via one among his sisters, who was doing analysis on medical hashish as a result of she was battling most cancers.
At first he launched Our Community Harvest as a web site the place customers might learn to cook dinner with hashish. However he quickly discovered that too many knew too little about weed, so he pivoted to grow to be a useful resource for anybody searching for to study extra in regards to the plant.
It was his education book, “The Important Hashish E book: A Discipline Information for the Curious” (Spring Home Press, 2018), and his work with Our Group Harvest that satisfied Stockton College to convey him on to develop hashish research after a fortuitous go to to Galloway throughout a campus go to with one among his college-aged sons. There, Mejia not solely created a program that will introduce college students to the hashish enterprise, he taught “Introduction to Medical Hashish.” Extra not too long ago, he began his most bold course, “Social Justice and Hashish,” which covers hashish historical past and prohibition, mixed with notions of well being inequality, earnings inequality, training inequality.
However ask him what he’s been engaged on currently, and he’ll inform you in essentially the most excited phrases how he and his Stockton college students not too long ago planted hemp seedlings as a part of the newly launched, Cannabis & Hemp Research Initiative.
“My principle has at all times been that Stockton is doing nice work, however I believe that if there’s something I can do to chop and transfer alongside the entire training trade in New Jersey, that’s solely going to make us stronger and higher as we go ahead,” Mejia stated.
Enrique Lavin is writer and editor of NJ Cannabis Insider, a weekly subscriber-based on-line commerce journal and occasions group produced by NJ Advance Media, which additionally publishes NJ.com, The Star-Ledger and different affiliated papers. Observe him on LinkedIn.