DENVILLE, NJ – Members of Citizens Against Marijuana Industry Near Schools (CAMINS) attended the Township of Denville Municipal Council meeting on Tuesday, March 19, to voice their concerns about the possible cultivation and processing of cannabis at Hamilton Farms in neighboring Boonton Township. Earlier this week, two New Jersey legislative committees approved a new marijuana bill that if passed by the full Legislature, would legalize the personal use of marijuana by adults, making a reality the threat of marijuana production on the property known to most as Hamilton Farms. The owners of Hamilton Farms sold the property to NETA, a subsidiary of Canadian TerrAscend Corporation.
Iris Drey, a Denville physician and the founder of CAMINS, initiated the public portion of the Municipal Council meeting with the following statement concerning the farm and the anticipated new marijuana bill:
“… I have been a resident of Denville since 1999 and I am very proud of my town and the people who work and make it a remarkable place to raise children. I have three boys who are in the public school system. I am very concerned about the bill that is going to the state legislature in the upcoming week for a vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana. As a physician, I understand and support the need for medical marijuana. I am opposed [to] the legalization of recreational marijuana.”
“I would like our town to pass an ordinance to ban the cultivation and processing of ALL marijuana and the sale of all marijuana not specifically prescribed for medical usage. Other towns, such as Chatham, Mahwah and Wykoff have already done so.”
“The police officers in Denville are outstanding with their dedication to working with our children to keep them away from drugs and other substances through the D.A.R.E program. How can we be consistent with what we tell our children if we allow marijuana to be freely grown, processed and distributed in our community?”
Other CAMINS members took turns at the microphone to bolster Drey’s request for a proactive ordinance. Many cited issues with zoning, public safety, traffic and pollution. While others pointed to declining property values and health concerns, particularly for adolescents.
Denville resident, Joel Gottlieb, explained that “property values of homes will decrease near a pot farm. This is not good for Denville. Because we’re right next door to Boonton, it concerns Denville.”
Denville Mayor Thomas Andes reassured those in attendance that he and members of the Denville Municipal Council shared their sentiments but would not pass an ordinance before passage of the actual bill. “We want to do it the right way. We have to see what’s in the bill first.” He explained that the towns that have passed ordinances already likely will have to rescind them and pass new ones after the bill has passed. He stated that it costs money to issue ordinances and that issuing multiple ordinances would not be an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
Undaunted, Drey urged Denville residents to contact their state legislators, Senator Anthony R. Bucco, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll and Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, and tell them to vote against the bill. Meanwhile, CAMINS will continue to attend meetings of local governing bodies to influence their members' decision making.
Here’s a list of upcoming meetings:
Boonton Township meeting, Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Morris County Freeholders meeting, Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m.
Mountain Lakes Planning Board meeting, Thursday, March 28, 7 p.m.
Boonton Township Planning Board meeting, Monday, April 1, 7:30 p.m.
This article has been updated to reflect the property's change in ownership to NETA, a subsidiary of Canadian TerrAscend Corporation.
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