Leafly: Alvi Ghaznavi is watching NJ celebrate its legal market from behind bars

Here’s the introduction to yet another story that by all rights no longer need be written, but unfortunately the wheels of Justice turn cruelly slowly whwn it comes to cannabis incarceration,

For Alvi and other prisoners of prohibition, The War on Drugs was simply a ‘War on Us’

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission started accepting retail license applications Tuesday (March 15). Gov. Phil Murphy also included over $4 million projected cannabis sales in his latest state budget, leading insiders to believe NJ’s legal market could be rolling out sometime between April and May.

For most NJ residents, the adult-use market signals exciting social and financial progress for The Garden State. But for Alvi Ghaznavi and many other Americans, the War on Drugs is still causing life-altering harm.

Alvi has spent two years and counting behind bars, waiting for Gov. Murphy or President Biden to fix the contradictions that current cannabis laws pose to the victims of racist and unjustly-enforced marijuana laws of the past. While his state reviews license applications, the 27-year-old is serving at least 3 years (and possibly up to 10) for operating a “controlled dangerous substance” cannabis facility in New Jersey.

The American dream turned nightmare

At 25 years old, with close to $500,000 saved, Alvi felt he was well on his way to securing the American dream. He wasn’t aiming to be as big as the Kennedys. But he saw the power that medical cannabis had on his health, as well as those around him.

Weed helped him, his wife and countless friends with anxiety and other ailments. It also provided a nice financial cushion for the couple to raise a newborn. Until one afternoon, when his perfect life pivoted to an American nightmare.

Alvi’s wife Juli was napping with their three-week-old baby boy at about 1:30 pm when a SWAT team raided their Bergen County, New Jersey residence.

The couple still hasn’t recovered their sense of peace or familial order since that traumatic day. Special officers specializing in high-risk tasks executed the daring afternoon sweep. But Juli, a lifelong resident, just wants to know one thing: “What was the high risk that me and my newborn posed?”

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