WOOLWICH TWP. – After a previous decision made by the committee to temporarily table the resolution to give a letter of support to Nova Farms in their efforts to obtain a Class 1 Cultivator License and a Class 2 Manufacturers License from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC), the resolution has officially passed with a vote of three to one at the Committee’s Feb. 22 meeting.
The initial vote occurred during the Monday, Jan. 18 Woolwich Township Meeting, but was suspended for further consideration after several concerns and topic points were raised by Woolwich residents on Facebook. This interest was reflected by the approximately 50 people who attended the Feb. 22 meeting to speak during the committee’s open floor session over a month later.
“It [cannabis farming] carries a negative stigma. I also believe that it negatively portrays our wonderful community,” one Woolwich Township resident said. “It drags us down.”
The meeting opened with a presentation from Nova Farms to discuss different attributes of the company and what it may look like if Nova Farms were to establish an outdoor cannabis grow on 169 Russell Mill Road. Currently, the company operates two outdoor grow sites in Sheffield, Massachusetts and Thorndike, Maine, both locations that Nova Farms consider to have many similarities to Woolwich Township.
If Nova Farms obtains their requested licensing, they plan to purchase almost 70 acres of land at Russell Mill Road and grow approximately 3.5 acres of cannabis towards the center of their property. This would allow for roughly 1,000 feet of distance between the crop and residential areas, with additional separation provided by the company’s proposed fencing and security.
“We use different tools. We grow differently. But we all come together with produce and we follow the rules,” Kris Wilson, owner of Growtopia Farms LLC and current applicant for a CRC micro grow license under Woolwich Wellness Company LLC, said. “Because you don’t even notice what I do right now and you’re not even going to notice when I do [grow] cannabis.
Woolwich Wellness Company is located at 857 Russell Mill Road. Wilson has already sought and received approval from the township to initiate his indoor microbusiness and is now waiting to receive his official license from the CRC. If Woolwich Wellness Company obtains this license, they will be able to grow up to 2,500 square feet of cannabis inside of their building.
Following the open floor, committee members cast their vote to pass the resolution, culminating in a three to one vote in favor of authorizing the letter of support. Votes for the resolution were made by Mayor Craig Fredrick, Deputy Mayor Dennis Callahan, and Committeewoman Cindy Minhas. Committeeman Vernon Marino cast the sole vote against the resolution, citing concerns over community response and the lack of quantity limitations for indoor and outdoor grow companies in the township.
The Woolwich Township Committee affirmed several times throughout the meeting that they hope to discuss and enact quantity limitations for the township soon.
The committee then voted unanimously to pass various resolutions, such as authorizing the payment of a fireworks display during the township’s Fun Day on May 21, elevating Brandon Hamer to the position of 5th Class Patrolman within the Woolwich Township Police department and allowing the tax collector to transfer or refund the balance of overpaid taxes.
The Woolwich Township Police Department declared their partnership with the Ring Doorbell app “Neighbors.” The department claims that this hyper-local social media application will allow for Woolwich residents to discuss crimes with the department in a more direct manner, as well as upload Ring Doorbell footage of alleged crimes directly to the police.
More information on this topic is still to come in a future email. Residents can join this email list through the Woolwich Township website.
Woolwich Township also announced the official opening date of the disc golf course at Tranquility Trails for April 23 at 10:30 a.m. The course will also host a professional disc golf tournament on June 11 with more details to be announced.
By Berry Andres