BRIDGEPORT — During their meeting on Oct. 17, the Logan Township Council heard a proposal from Parea Biosciences of New Jersey, Inc. and Compassionate Care Health and Wellness Company, Inc. regarding the opening of an Alternative Treatment Center in Bridgeport.
An Alternative Treatment Center is authorized to cultivate high-grade medicinal marijuana, and provide it to registered patients who qualify in accordance with New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana law.
Compassionate Care withdrew an initial proposal they had made to Council at an Aug. 21 meeting.
In this proposal, Compassionate Care has teamed up with Parea BioSciences. This time Parea looks to establish an Alternative Treatment Center under the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The proposed facility would be located at Block 501, Lot 7 on Barker Avenue in Bridgeport. The facility in the earlier plan was set to be on Repaupo Station Road.
Christopher Macchi, Parea’s Chief Strategy Officer and a Logan Township resident, acknowledged that proposed Treatment Centers have to obtain a license from the New Jersey Department of Health to operate, and they need to gain acceptance from their chosen community to receive approval for their proposed location. Parea currently has a medical marijuana cultivation operation in Coal Township, Pennsylvania and a medical marijuana dispensary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Director of the Parea Advisory Board Andrew Medvedovsky believes that marijuana has suffered from a bad reputation. “When we think of marijuana, we think of horrible things,” stated Medvedovsky. “It has been stigmatized, and I’d like to change the way you think about cannibus.”
“Aspirin and other over the counter drugs have a larger risk for potential side effects than cannibus,” he continued. “Cannibus is an amazing option when it is used in a controlled environment.”
Representatives from Parea said that there could be 225 jobs available at the new facilities, and local citizens will get the first chance at the positions. Local residents attending the meeting wanted to know what else they had to offer.
According to Macchi, Parea will also create educational training programs, along with educational seminars to be held at local high schools, hospitals, addiction centers, and counseling facilities throughout Logan Township and the surrounding area.
Bridgeport’s Gary Hunter suggested locating the Center in an industrial park, and the Parea representatives felt that would be asking for theft or break-ins due to the large number of people working in a park. Regarding security, the company has proposed using round the clock surveillance, along with two professionally trained security guards who would be retired Logan police officers and/or military veterans.
Leonard Hernandez of Bridgeport expressed concerns about extra traffic due to the Center. Parma responded that Logan could add police after they see the extra tax revenue the Center would bring. The proposal letter said legalization of medical marijuana would likely result in lucrative tax revenues.
Logan Township resident Kim Taylor gave Council a petition of Logan Township residents who were against growing and distribution of marijuana in the community at the August meeting. Taylor says that the only tax money Logan will see from the Center is a portion of the building’s property tax.
She offered security questions as well, saying that only two or three police officers patrol all of Logan, plus Beckett, Bridgeport and Repaupo at night. Taylor is asking for an ordinance that would say no to medical marijuana growth and distribution facilities in Logan Township, or possibly one that specifies locations away from homes or schools.
Solicitor Brian Duffield explained, “The location will be handled by the Zoning Board, and the application has to be approved by the state.”
In other news, Council adopted an ordinance that amended Chapter Four of Logan Township’s code, entitled “Administration of Government.” Duffield clarified that they changed a lot of codes for the Construction Code Office. An adopted resolution awarded a contract of $78,791 to Think Pavers Hardscaping LLC for Heron Drive and Center Square Road intersection improvements.
Elsewhere, Logan Mayor Frank Minor issued proclamations to two Logan Township residents, Linda C. Marshall and Bettie Diggs, for their service to the community. In Council updates, Councilmember Bernadine Jackson thanked everyone who helped to make Logan Day successful, including the Police and Fire Departments.
— by Robert Holt