Flemington looks to set limits on marijuana business

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FLEMINGTON – A lot of cannabis businesses want to move to Flemington, but the places where they can set up shop may be limited.

The Borough Council introduced an ordinance Monday that limited the places where cannabis businesses can open in the county seat.

If it passes after a public hearing March 27, the shops will not be allowed to open downtown or in the Stangl Road area.

The shops will only be allowed on state highways or county roads, the ordinance says.

But Borough Administrator Michael Humphrey told the Council that he is getting phone calls from cannabis businesses, which have already received state approval, looking to locate in Flemington and are in the “pre-leasing” stage.

He said they are eying spaces, including the vacant Rite Aid at Route 31 and Church Street, the former Red Crab Juicy Seafood on the Flemington Circle and the former 30 Burgers next to Burger King on Route 202.

Flemington has only four cannabis licenses, two for medical sales and two for recreational sales. One location can have both medical and recreational sales.

Aunt Mary’s opened a medical cannabis dispensary in the Shoppes at Flemington off the Flemington Circle in February.

For a shop to receive state approval, a business must receive the endorsement of the borough.

Also see:Inside the old Walmart that’s growing, cooking and packing NJ legal weed

Also see:‘We look corrupt’: Colleagues call on Flemington councilman facing drug charges to resign

In November, the Council endorsed McGraw Holdings’ proposal to open a dispensary on Stangl Road, but McGraw has not received approval from the state, Humphrey said.

Council Member Susan Engelhardt said the Planning Board had determined by a majority vote that the proposed ordinance was “not in the spirit” of Flemington’s master plan and was “substantially inconsistent” with the master plan’s call to encourage more business in the downtown area.

Engelhardt, who also sits on the Planning Board with Mayor Marcia Karrow, said she supported the ordinance that can be changed at any time.

Because cannabis is a new business, she said it could be “scary” for some people and wanted to wait a few years to see the impact of cannabis businesses in the state.

Karrow said a “big concern” prompting the proposed ordinance limiting the businesses to highways was parking and traffic.

Downtown and Stangl Road may not have adequate parking to handle the traffic generated by a cannabis business, she said, unlike Aunt Mary’s which is in a shopping center with adequate parking and good traffic circulation.

Karrow also said the ordinance can be changed “anytime we want.”

Email: mdeak@mycentraljersey.com

Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account.

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