VERONA, NJ — The Verona Township Council opened the floor for community input during a recent meeting to gauge public opinion on a current proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 30 Pompton Avenue. 

The proposal comes from Green Thumb Industries (GTI), a company working to expand legal ways to access cannabis products, which provided a preliminary presentation about the goals and functions of the proposed dispensary.

During the presentation, representatives 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. 

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The presentation was followed by a mixed bag of opinions from the public ranging from full support to apprehension and opposition.

Many of the positive comments came from residents who currently use or have family members who use medical marijuana as well as residents who 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 expressed concern over having a dispensary in town and certain considerations that were not covered in the presentation, such as 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 be able to sell recreationally if the state legalizes marijuana.

GTI representatives offered reassurances about many of these doubts brought, reaffirming a strictly medical use of the dispensary with no preemptive plans to open up recreationally while it is still illegal. Following their response, only one member of the public stated that he still did not support the proposal. 

The Verona Township Council will vote on the proposal during its June 8 meeting, where residents will have another opportunity to comment on the topic.