To the editor,
Regarding Flemington Councilman Jeff Doshna’s resolution supporting applications for an “Alternative Treatment Center” to provide medical marijuana that Council approved June 24, I am asking Council to reconsider supporting advancement in the future.
I believe our Council is working to implement a plan that at the core will seek to usher in recreational marijuana use in our community. I believe that although there may be some documented medical benefits, the research into the medical precautions and side effects are in need and many are showing negative effects on mental health. This will be a concern for the community in the future.
Are we to believe Bob Pease and Jonathon Goldrath, who represent Altus New Jersey, LLC, plan to seek a state license, approached our borough? Mayor Betsy Driver said Altus is not the only provider that has approached officials about opening a dispensary here. I think the community should know precisely who approaches officials, who will in the future, and be given ample time for public comment before decisions are made.
Councilman Michael Harris asked representatives, “Why here?” I believe Jonathon replied, "Patient access to Route 31 and Route 202.” None of the other six facilities in the state have any affiliation with medical facilities. They are mainly commercial hubs with highway access in high density areas. I agree with business owner and resident Robert Shore: It is inappropriate for our population and size.
I am concerned about the comments from Flemington Community Partnership Director Robin Lapidus, who spoke on behalf of the business community in support of the dispensary. This implies she consulted with the Board of Directors and they agreed for her to represent them at Council. The Council members were only made aware of the agenda some 48 hours before the meeting. Did the FCP board have access to this information prior? Were they able to meet make judgments about the overall business community and decide to have her make these statements, or was this her personal view? I am concerned this is not her role as Director to lobby council concerning political/social issues.
Many in our community have stories concerning prescribed medications and possible misuse. The lack of studies on usage before implementation of policy is not the appropriate procedure. Nevertheless, we have seen this done in the community by so-called experts. Time and again this will prove to catch up with government, pharmaceutical companies and distributors who are represented. In the future, litigation may be aimed at the representatives who push ahead before health issues are fully understood.
We have hopeful young families here. If this is about helping the sick, it is available for access in six New Jersey locations and soon in Phillipsburg - not too far away. If it is about revenue, the solution is already in our midst in the form of redevelopment of our historic downtown and other areas here. If you are a resident and wish to express your view, please e-mail Council or come to the next Council meeting.