MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee this week said no to two requests for local support for a cannabis business in the township.

Both businesses have conditional licenses to sell cannabis from the state Cannabis Regulatory Committee. They needed local support to receive an annual license and eventually set up shop.

In a unanimous vote taken without discussion, the committee voted to reject requests from Ganja Babe LLC and Garden State Marijuana LLC for letters of support. Mayor Tim Donohue did not respond to a request for comment.

Representatives of both companies expressed frustration with the vote after the meeting and said they were not informed that a vote was to take place. The resolution was listed on the printed agenda at the meeting but did not appear on the agenda posted online.

Matthew Kersey, a Delaware resident who owns Garden State Marijuana, said he is a veteran with a background in security. He indicated the decision could be the end of the road for his effort to open a cannabis business in New Jersey.

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He said he wanted a chance to present his case to the township governing body.

Ganja Babe owner Erin Fehrle, of Corbin City, received a conditional license approval in April. She also said there was no notification from the township of the scheduled vote.

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The township’s ordinance would allow two cannabis retail businesses in the community. The township has agreed to support one application; Insa out of Massachusetts. The company had plans to grow cannabis for the medical and recreational markets at a location on Indian Trail Road and to open a retail location in Rio Grande.

Middle Township has discussed the potential economic benefit to the community as part of the motivation for a new ordinance allowing two cannabis retailers and other businesses, which will pay the township a 2% tax on sales. The vote repeals a previous ordinance allowing a single retailer.

But the state regulatory agency rejected that company for a conditional license, and indications are that the agreement for the Indian Trail Road property has fallen through. An Insa representative has not responded to requests for an update.

The resolution approved by the Township Committee cites the Insa approval as one of two potential approvals in the township.

A year ago, the township also said no to a second retail site, C3 Middle Township LLC. Township officials have discussed the possibility of litigation in connection to that rejection.

In August, Emmet Vandergrift of Pigment Holdings LLC attended a committee meeting to make the pitch that his cannabis company should get local support.

Neighboring Lower Township has also voted to allow cannabis businesses, but also does not yet have any. While the number of licensed cannabis retail locations for those over 21 continues to grow, the only location in Cape May County is in West Cape May, where Shore House Canna recently opened.

Middle Township originally voted against allowing cannabis sales, citing a lack of information by a state-imposed deadline. Later, the township approved allowing sales, with officials arguing that local taxpayers should see some benefit from new revenue.

In September, the township reworked its cannabis ordinance, which included allowing two locations.

Contact Bill Barlow:

609-272-7290

bbarlow@pressofac.com

Twitter @jerseynews_bill

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