Vendors of Medical Marijuana Rejected by Zoning Boards in New Jersey

Vendors of Medical Marijuana Rejected by Zoning Boards in New Jersey

12/6/2011

 

It took several years for medical marijuana advocates to convince lawmakers in New Jersey on the idea of permitting some patients to legally use pot.

Some of these advocates are now discovering that an even larger task exists, and that is convincing towns to approve sites for them to do business.

Eight months after being chosen by the state, only two of the six groups approved to grow and sell pot to qualified patients have firm sites. Others have met tough local opposition.

Ken Wolski, Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey executive director, watched the residents of Upper Freehold protest against a proposed legal marijuana farm in their town at a meeting Tuesday.

Wolski said, “It struck me as townsfolk with torches and pitchforks chasing them out of town.”

The two groups that have zoning approvals are a couple of months away from opening to patient because they still need to obtain final permits from the Department of Health and Senior Services of the state before they can plant their crops, which would take around four months to grow.

Two that already had public hearings on their proposals met strong objections from people who say that the facility would affect property values in the area, as well as send the message that illegal drugs are okay and could create a security risk.

The committee meeting in Upper Freehold provided a forum to deliberate the issue, but there was no vote on the plan of Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center to put greenhouses on a central New Jersey town farm.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com