VERONA, NJ - The Verona Town Council opened the floor for community input during Thursday evening’s virtual council meeting to gauge public opinion on a current proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in town at 30 Pompton Avenue.
This proposal comes from Green Thumb Industries, a company working to expand legal ways to access cannabis products, who provided a preliminary presentation about the goals and functions of the proposed dispensary. This presentation provided an overview of medical marijuana’s uses, the safety measures and eligibility requirements of people to purchase their products, and explained what their proposed dispensary could provide the community. They also provided a step-by-step run through of the secure and streamlined process of buying products for eligible people.
After the presentation the council opened the floor for public comments. The general responses of those from the community who commented on the proposal were a mixed bag with opinions ranging from full support to apprehension and opposition.
Of the positive responses, most were from residents who currently use or who have family members who use or would have preferred to use medical marijuana as an alternative to pharmaceutical prescriptions. They explained the benefits of its use over pharmaceuticals and why making this more accessible with a local dispensary would be a benefit to those with eligible conditions to utilize medical marijuana.
Other residents who spoke expressed their concerns about having a dispensary in town as well as, more generally, asking them for further information about considerations they felt failed to be covered in the presentation. Some of these included questions about how the dispensary will affect property values and crime rates in the area, the security of both the dispensary and the product containers, and whether the dispensary would sell recreationally if the state legalized marijuana.
Most of these questions were answered directly by the present GTI representatives who offered reassurances about the doubts brought by some responses. They reaffirmed a strictly medical use of the dispensary with no preemptive plans to open up recreationally while it is still illegal. Of the residents who had these questions and concerns, only one stated that he does not support the proposal.
The Verona Town Council will vote on the proposal in another meeting on June 8 where residents will have another opportunity to comment on the topic.
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