Hopewell Township Committee supports applications for three cannabis retailers

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The Hopewell Township Committee supports three applications for cannabis retail – Jersey Meds Management, Icon Canna and Floro Hopewell.

The governing body approved the three resolutions of support at a meeting on June 13. Icon Canna was the only applicant to receive a unanimous vote of approval from the five-member township committee.

Only a maximum of two cannabis retailers are allowed to operate in Hopewell Township, according to the township’s ordinance.

In April, Pure Blossom was awarded the first resolution of support by the township committee.

Jersey Meds Management has a proposed location at 2566 Pennington Road in Pennington, which is 1,900 square feet and housed within a retail shopping plaza.

Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning recused herself from the discussion and vote. Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger, Committeeman David Chait, Committeewoman Uma Purandare voted “yes” to approve the measure.

“Cannabis in town, much like many other municipalities in the state, we are learning, we are growing and we are developing,” Chait said. “My understanding is as of today, the way our ordinance is written is whether or not the zoning approvals and basic conditions have been met and does it meet the standards of our ordinance. So I do vote ‘yes’.”

Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski was the sole dissenting vote.

“I agree with following the process, but I think we have an obligation to look at some of these sites and apply our judgment as stewards of the community,” he said. “I think Mr. Ruger raised a number of points in the last meeting that suggest that this site and or approach is not suitable for the township. I am going to vote strongly ‘no.'”

Icon Canna, which received unanimous support from the township committee, is proposing a new 3,500-square-foot facility. According to a presentation by Icon Canna representatives, the preference is to repurpose a portion of the vacant Pennytown property on Route 31.

If the Pennytown location does not materialize, representatives for Icon Canna stated that a new location would be fairly close to the desired location.

Floro Hopewell is proposing a location at 2516 Pennington Road in Hopewell. The proposed retail establishment is 2,400 square feet on 0.71 acres, according to Floro Hopewell’s presentation. The site is proposing 20 parking spaces and is located in the Business-Highway Office Zone.

Peters-Manning, Ruger, Chait, Purandare voted in favor of approving a resolution of support for Floro Hopewell.

“As we spoke with Mr. [Scott] Miccio [township attorney], the process right now is to determine if it is suitably zoned and if they meet the distance requirements and other requirements. I believe that they do,” Peters-Manning said. “If we kept appropriately zoned cannabis businesses from any potential tutoring site in the Valley there would be nowhere we could have cannabis. With that I vote ‘yes.’”

Kuchinski was the only Committee member to vote “no.”

“For the same reasons I reiterated earlier I think this is in close proximity to children and residential development,” Kuchinski said. “I am concerned that there could be onsite tutoring by our school district and, therefore, I view it as an unsuitable site and vote ‘no.'”