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Overflow Crowd Delays ‘Pot’ Discussion [VIDEO]

Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media

More than one hundred residents and officials crowded a small meeting room to participate in Thursday’s nights Upper Freehold Township Committee meeting.

The attendance was so large, committee members voted to postpone the public portion.

Those in attendance hoped to voice their opinions on a proposed plan to bring a medical marijuana operation to the township. Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center submitted a zoning application to grow pot on a preserved farm.

The plan would first need municipal approval before the state signs off on the deal. The township committee would not play a large role, if any, in the process, but the overflow crowd attended Thursday’s meeting anyway.

Before adjourning, committee members announced the rest of the meeting would be held on Tuesday, November 22nd at 7pm. An exact location had not been chosen, but it should be known by the end of Friday.

Hazlet resident Charles Kwiatkowski, attended the meeting, hoping to speak in favor of the medical marijuana proposal. The 40-year-old was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 15 years ago.

Video by Dino Flammia

Kwiatkowski said he has used a variety of medications and holistic remedies, but nothing relieves his symptoms as well as marijuana.

“Cannabis is the only medicine that works on all of my organs,” he said.

Also in attendance was Rachel Cotrino of Allentown. She said a pot facility would prove to be a great asset for the local community.

“We would be allowing business to start here,” Cotrino explained.

Those against the proposal said a possible uptick in crime is a concern. Cotrino said those fears are “overblown”.

She explained, “We have pharmacies in our area that dispense drugs like Hydrocodone and Percocet that are far more addictive and dangerous to individuals than marijuana is, and that’s a fact.”

Rosanna Mangini of Upper Freehold also mentioned the concern over land value if the pot farm existed.

“People want to sell their house, and they come in and investigate and find out that there’s something like this,” said Mangini.

Another pressing concern among the crowd was the fact that Upper Freehold does not have its own police force. New Jersey State Troopers were assigned to Thursday’s meeting to handle the crowd.

“It’s not about the health of the people who need the marijuana,” said Upper Freehold resident Chris Martinez. “How do you enforce it? How do you regulate it? How do you control it? How do you secure it? I don’t think there’s a plan in effect today that does that effectively.”

As of early Friday, it was unknown when the township’s zoning board would act on the Breakwater proposal. Similar attempts, but for dispensaries, were shot down in Moonachie and Maple Shade.

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