Tucked away in a room below the main floor of CannaStock at the MJN Convention Center in Poughkeepsie, NY on May 13, leaders of the Hudson Valley community discussed issues facing New York as it rolls out the first wave of legal adult-use dispensaries, As of this writing there are total of eight in the state, with five in New York City. Poughkeepsie is on the waiting list.
An exception among the panelists was JoJo Simmons, son of Joseph Simmons from Run-DMC, also known as Reverend Run, who grew up in New Jersey. He appeared on Run's House on MTV from 2005-2009 and Growing Up Hip Hop on WE from 2018-2019. Now his focus as an ambassador for Last Prisoner Project is getting cannabis convicts out of jail.
"A lot of people my color are still serving time for selling weed," he told the crowded room. "We need to use our voices."
Simmons also hyped the Cannabis Voter Project before taking questions from the audience.
As probably the only reporter in the room, I asked the first one:
What does your famous father, Joseph Simmons, Rev. Run, think of your cannabis advocacy?
"I initially didn't tell him because I didn't think it was something we were going to have to have a conversation about...
"What I really love to do is smoke cannabis and advocate for it.
"When we had the conversation, he said, 'I love what you're doing, it's educating the youth and I truly believe in the way you're doing it, you're really advocating for people that are in jail, you want to get them out. You want cannabis to be looked at in the right way.'
"So, he's given me nothing but support. He respects it, he loves it. Yeah, he's a reverend...
"But we all know he used to be Run-DMC and he smoked like a chimney."
CannaStock's next event, Cannastock Fall, will also host the award ceremony for the first Excelsior Cup.