This fall, Millsboro, a town in Delaware, offered traditionally unconventional incentives to people who chose to sign up for the “Joints for Junk” event. The organizers promised volunteers marijuana in exchange for helping clean the town. As promised, at the beginning of the event, they handed out pre-rolls to kick off the two-hour trash cleanup.
The Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network, founded in 2013, has been organizing community events since its inception. This event signifies the group’s first endeavor in organizing an activity since the legalization of marijuana in the state eight months ago.
The nonprofit advocacy group brainstormed something innovative and inspirational to attract volunteers — give out ganja. Some were surprised, however, that the group made good on the promise before having the volunteers put in the work.
President of Delaware CAN, Zoë Patchell, said, “People registered, showed up, signed a waiver, and we gave them a joint.” She added, “And, actually, nobody took the joint and left. It was a really positive, inspiring day.”
After the group settled on the catchy event name, “Joints for Junk,” they were tasked with finding the right location for the community service project, ultimately landing on the Sussex County town of Millsboro. The town, which has a population of approximately 7,000, also has a council that recently voted to prohibit the manufacturing and sale of marijuana.
Patchell spoke on why Millsboro made so much sense for the event, saying, “There was significant community support there while we were involved in opposing the vote, so it just seemed like a great place to do it.” Many wondered afterward whether the cannabis giveaway was effective. In a word, yes.
According to Patchell, “it was probably one of our best turnouts for a community service project.” She was sure to point out that no volunteers lit up on site and added, “There were a number of new people we had never met before, and a few of them even became members.”
Over 50 volunteers (over 21 years old) were drawn to the event, each receiving a pre-rolled joint. The pre-rolls were provided by members of the nonprofit group, which aligns under new Delaware law permitting any adult to gift another adult up to one ounce of cannabis.
More than two-dozen bags of garbage were collected from the vicinity around the Millsboro Town Center during the clean-up. Notably, this location is the very site where, just six days before the event, the Town Council voted against the legalization of marijuana during a public hearing on November 6.
Six teams wearing fluorescent yellow vests were deployed between 10:00 a.m. and noon to pick up any trash they found using large garbage bags. No issues were reported concerning the efforts made by the group’s first “Joints for Junk” project, though several nearby residents witnessed the brightly dressed volunteers walking through the neighborhood and came out of their homes to inquire about what was happening.
Patchell said, “It was a really positive reception,” adding, “We just told them we were here to make Millsboro more green.”
Delaware CAN typically hosts two large community cleanups annually, and another “Joints for Junk” event is planned for the coming spring. Volunteers can expect the same setup as in Millsboro: come out to lend a hand and receive some cannabis for your time. However, the group has not yet locked in a location for the spring event.
According to Patchell, “We just want to show everyone that cannabis users care about the community, and a lot of the negative stereotypes are simply not true.” The group is actively working on expanding expungement, home cultivation, and increasing access for medical patients. Patchell says, “We care just like everybody else.”