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Want to volunteer? These Delaware community events give you weed in exchange for help

Updated: Dec 27, 2023



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When it came time to present the pot, grant the ganja or bestow the bud ― however you want to say it ― the organizers of Delaware's first "Joints for Junk" decided to hand out the promised pre-rolls at the start of the two-hour trash clean up in Millsboro this fall.

While the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network has been organizing community events ever since its founding in 2013, this was the first time it was doing one since marijuana was legalized in Delaware eight months ago.

So the nonprofit advocacy group brainstormed a new way to attract volunteers: give out grass. And they didn't even wait until the volunteers put in the work first.


"People preregistered, showed up, signed a waiver and we gave them a joint," says Zoë Patchell, president of Delaware CAN. "And, actually, nobody took the joint and left. It was a really positive, inspiring day."

Once they landed on the catchy event name, they had to find a location for the community service project, eventually landing on Millsboro, the Sussex County town of about 7,000 whose council had just voted to prohibit the sale and manufacturing of marijuana.


"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," Patchell says.

So did the cannabis giveaway work? It sure did.


"It was probably one of our best turnouts for a community service project," Patchell says, adding that volunteers didn't light up on site. "There were a number of new people we had never met before, and a few of them even became members."

The event drew more than 50 volunteers over the age of 21 with each getting a pre-rolled joint, which was donated by members of the nonprofit group. (Under new Delaware law, anyone can gift an adult up to an ounce of marijuana.)


More than two dozen bags of trash were collected from the area surrounding the Millsboro Town Center ― the same place where the Town Council voted against marijuana just six days prior at a Nov. 6 public hearing.


From 10 a.m. to noon, six teams were deployed in florescent yellow vests to pick up any garbage they found using large garbage bags of the same color. While there were no issues reported with their first "Joints for Junk" project, some residents came out from their homes to ask what was happening as they saw the brightly dressed volunteers roaming the neighborhood.

"It was a really positive reception," Patchell says. "We just told them we were here to make Millsboro more green."


Delaware CAN usually hosts two major community cleanups each year and is planning another "Joints for Junk" event this spring. Expect the same setup as in Millsboro: come out to help and receive some reefer for your time.


So where will the next one be? They haven't locked in a location just yet.

"We just want to show everyone that cannabis consumers care about the community and a lot of the negative stereotypes are simply not true," says Patchell, whose group is now working on expanding expungement, increasing access for medical patients, home cultivation and more. "We care just like everybody else."



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