Resident of NJ Senior Citizens Development Charged as Marijuana Dealer
BERKELEY — Police charged a resident of a senior community with running an online cannabis business.
Township police arrested Daniel Hessel, 36, at his home on Vail Street in the Holiday City West section on Wednesday after neighbors complained about an increase in pedestrian and auto traffic over the past several months because of what they believed was the sale of marijuana.
A warrant was also executed at an address on Wainwright Road, a residential neighborhood in Toms River, on similar complaints from residents.
Between the two locations, police seized marijuana, $400,000 in cash, distribution-related paraphernalia and a Jeep Gladiator, according to police.
Hessel was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana. Police said additional charges are expected as the evidence is processed.
Township police said in their statement that while New Jersey’s marijuana laws have changed greatly in the past year “it is still unlawful to distribute this marijuana outside the confines of the new laws.”
Police said Hessel operates a web business called Bud Hub, which delivers edibles and "gift packages that are fully compliant with state laws," according to its website.
"Our cannabis lifestyle brand includes a large collection of apparel for sale, such as branded hats, T-shirts and stickers. Selling cannabis isn't legal, but we'll include a free sample with your purchase in compliance with New Jersey laws. You can show off your cannabis pride and try our high-quality cannabis products at the same time," the website says.
Bud Hub was listed as a vendor at the South Toms River Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival along with Beachwood Police and the Ocean County Sheriff's Office.
An advocate for retail sale of marijuana
Kessel told the website Headynj.com in April that his business takes advantage of a loop hole in the New Jersey marijuana law allowing a "gift" of cannabis with the purchase of apparel or a sticker. He said he would like more clarity in the state law so he could sell openly with the goal of opening a retail location near a beach.
Kessel told the website he operates Bud Hub with his sister Ashley so they can apply for a permit reserved for businesses owned by women.
Among his biggest customers are seniors who like candy edibles, he told the website.
Wearing a Bud Hub hoodie Hessel spoke before the Toms River Township Council at their April 27 meeting in favor of allowing the sale of cannabis in a video posted to his Facebook page.
Kessel told the council that by not allowing the sale of marijuana the township is missing out on millions of dollars in potential revenue.