After awarding Cannique with a resolution of support for a retail cannabis establishment in Pennington, council members changed course to provide resolutions of support to three applicants – Cannique, Fine Fettle, and Jersey Meds Management.
The council had originally awarded just one resolution of support to one of the three applicants [Cannique] at the council’s March 7 meeting. But, the resolution of support included a condition that the resolution would expire or be withdrawn if Cannique had not applied for a license from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission by May 2.
Cannique was unable to meet the condition set in the resolution and so the council’s reversal to awarding all three applicants a resolution of support took place at the governing body’s May 2 meeting.
Councilman Ken Gross voted with council members to unanimously support a resolution of support for Cannique a second time. However, Gross was the sole dissent vote for both resolutions of support for Fine Fettle and Jersey Meds Management.
He said all three applicants would run very good businesses and check off all the boxes. Gross added that with Cannique being on the second floor of an office building it mitigates some of the concerns of the residents of Pennington.
“It is that slight difference of a small sign in an office building,” he said. “Nothing against the other candidates, but thinking of all the residents of Pennington I think this would be more supported by all of the residents together.”
Before the council decided on awarding all three applicants with a resolution of support, each would present before the council once again.
“All three expressed an interest in doing so and we presented them with seven items we wanted them to address in their pre-submitted information for tonight,” Mayor James Davy said at the meeting.
Some of the seven items asked were documentation that they had acquired a lease or have an appropriate bind commitment to acquire a lease for a proposed location; and that the location of the proposed store is a conditional use in either the B-H (business highway) zone or office business zone is clear and non-ambiguous.
Additionally, another item of the seven was that the council asked the applicants to explain how the location and design of their proposed store would be compatible with its surroundings, protect the well-being of youth, and avoid unwelcome images to non-customers and passers by.
Cannique board member Janice Mintz said, “We believe that awarding multiple resolutions that will allow for a race to the finish line is incompatible with the goals of our community. Make no mistake Cannique is moving expeditiously on every single front to successfully secure a license from the state.”
The original location Cannique proposed for a cannabis retail dispensary that was previously presented had been set for 144 W. Franklin Ave. in Pennington and would have to be constructed.
Now the new location would be at 10 Route 31 North.
“We believe we strengthen our applicantion by securing a lease to a much-improved site. As locals we heard your concerns about timing to be fully operational and took those concerns to heart,” said Rachel Donington, chair of Cannique. “If council goes down the road of issuing multiple resolutions of support we will have to withdraw and you will lose us.”
Fine Fettle’s presentation followed Cannique.
“None of our application has changed,” said Benjamin Zachs, executive at Fine Fettle.
Fine Fettle proposes a retail cannabis establishment at 5 Route 31 in Pennington.
Danielle and Jeremy Perlman from Lawrenceville are local partners with Fine Fettle, a national marijuana dispensary company. Danielle Perlman is the majority owner within the New Jersey holdings at 51%.
Fine Fettle’s Pennington building space would 2,400 square feet with a little more than 1,000 square feet of tenant space.
The layout that been proposed had included a waiting area (225 square feet), secure check-in (195 square feet), 750 square feet for dispensary space, 260 square feet for the vault area, 400 square feet for receiving and packaging space.
There would be 40 cameras inside and outside the facility in the Fine Fettle’s 2,400-square-foot portion of the existing building.
When asked by Councilwoman Nadine Stern if the council granted all three companies a resolution would they stay in the process, Zachs said, “If that is defined as allowed by the state then yes we would go through it.”
Jersey Meds Management was the final presentation.
The company’s new location for its proposed cannabis retail establishment is at 7 Route 31 North.
“That building is in a strip mall and is actually quite close to the TD Bank building where Fine Fettle has their proposed location and is in the business highway zone,” said Sheila Mints, attorney for Jersey Meds. “The windows of the store are going to have opaque glass and the only signage is very discreet.”
Jersey Meds Management had originally proposed a location at 21 Route 31, Suite 1 in Pennington within the Shoppes at Pennington plaza.
Security at the retail cannabis establishment will be provided by Helix security.
“We will 24/7 virtual monitoring and camera systems, building fortification alarm systems and restricted access. A security guard will check IDs when people come in,” Mints said.
The establishment proposed will contain a waiting room, check in/office, self-service kiosks, vault space, inventory prep space, sales stations, product displays and a break room.
Jersey Meds Management indicated they would not withdraw if all three applicants were given a resolution of support.
Pennington only allows one cannabis retail business in the borough.
No more than a total of two cannabis retailers and medical dispensaries are permitted in the business highway zone and the office business zone, one place in the two zones will have to be reserved for a medical cannabis dispensary.
According to the ordinance, if a medical dispensary does not attempt to locate in the business highway zone and the office business zone the total number of retailers allowed is one.