EDGE NJ: Supporting New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ Community

High Street Dispensary and EDGE NJ are partnering up for a vibrant New Jersey Pride month! Our partnership highlights our commitment to inclusivity, education, and support for the local community. Not to mention, we are proud to honor the role the LGBTQ+ community and AIDS patients played in kick-starting the cannabis legalization movement.

We’re joining EDGE NJ at their annual Morris County Pride on June 22nd as an Ally Sponsor. Get to know EDGE NJ’s mission and more about the festival.

The genesis of EDGE NJ 

Established in October 1994, EDGE NJ, formerly known as the Eric Johnson House and New Jersey Aids Service, initially served as a temporary housing placement for those with positive HIV status during the height of the epidemic in the 90s. 

“At that time, HIV was considered a terminal disease, and a lot of stigmas were placed on the community,” said Nicholas Lepper, EDGE NJ Development Coordinator. “As the years progressed and medicine progressed, it allowed individuals with HIV to live longer and fuller lives.” 

Fast forward to January 2009. The Eric Johnson House changed its name to New Jersey AIDS Services (NJAS) to meet the growing need for support in the HIV-positive community. During that time, Lepper says, “the group received a lot of inquiries from the LGBTQ+ community [for medical care] with nowhere to refer them to in the nearby area.” 

As a result, in 2019, NJAS began providing LGBTQ+-affirming care to adapt and accommodate the growing need in the community. In 2020, the group changed its name to EDGE New Jersey – standing for “End Discrimination, Gain Equality.”

“The Mission of EDGE NJ is to respond compassionately and responsibly to those living with HIV, those at risk, and the LGBTQ+ communities by providing supportive services, housing opportunities, prevention strategies, and education to enhance the community we serve,” Lepper explained. 

Forging connections throughout New Jersey

At High Street, our partnership with EDGE NJ is a testament to our shared values and commitment to the well-being of New Jerseyans.

“Our sponsors make events like Pride possible, and as vendors, help raise the visibility of local affirming supportive businesses and safe spaces across New Jersey,” Lepper added. “Each partnership offers a unique way for us to connect with and provide services to the LGBTQ+ and HIV+ communities in New Jersey. We look forward to growing this partnership and discovering new ways to support New Jersey.”

Slated for June 22nd at the County College of Morris in Randolph, the Morris County Pride Festival promises a fun, family-friendly event focused on uplifting queer voices, education, visibility, and bridging access to local affirming support. All proceeds from the festival go directly to support local LGBTQ+ services and programming at EDGE NJ. High Street Dispensary will be located in the 21+ adult beer garden zone. 

Partnering with a local dispensary like High Street, Lepper says, emboldens EDGE NJ’s mission. 

“[We rely] on our partnerships, like [with] High Street, to enhance our impact and strengthen the support we can provide in New Jersey,” Lepper explained. “We are excited and looking forward to having High Street join us this year as a supporting sponsor and vendor [at Pride].” 

Supporting EDGE NJ beyond Pride

Our support for EDGE NJ is a year-round endeavor. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that heavily relies on community donations and volunteer support for programs and events like Pride, we encourage High Street customers like you to extend your support through donations and volunteerism. This helps the group to provide critical lifesaving affirming care at little to no cost to those in need, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. 

Celebrating Unity with High Street 

The partnership between High Street and EDGE NJ celebrates inclusivity and acknowledges the profound intertwining of the LGBTQ+ community with the cannabis industry. From activism to entrepreneurship, the two communities have woven a legacy of resilience and advocacy. Together, we stand as allies, amplifying voices and fostering a community where every voice is heard, and everyone is embraced with open arms.

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