Madison: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Proposal Meets Strong Opposition

Source: New Jersey

The Madison NJ Borough Council tabled a resolution to approve a medicinal marijuana dispensary on Main Street near Brooklake Road after being confronted with vehement opposition from residents at a council meeting Monday evening.

Nearly 20 residents, including many residents of nearby Niles Avenue, spoke out against an application from a proposed dispensary called First Choice Health and Wellness to establish a medical dispensary in the two-story office building at 340 Main St., next to the Lukoil gas station.

First Choice Health and Wellness, a new venture licensed by the state as a certified medical dispensary in 2019, would sell sealed marijuana medication in various forms to state-registered medical marijuana patients ages 21 years and older. On-site consumption would be prohibited by a full-time security guard and monitored by surveillance, according to the company.

The Borough Council had previously voted 5-1 in April to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in areas along Main Street at least 750 away away from school buildings, which limited possible sites largely to the east end of town near the Chatham border.

Concerns ranged from increased traffic and lack of screening around the parking lot, to fears of cannabis patients driving while high in town, increased recreational marijuana use among local teens, an increase in crime, and a general skepticism that the facility would be used by people with legitimate medical conditions rather than recreational drug users.

“Another concern we have is people taking marijuana to ease their pain as soon as they leave the building’s parking lot,” said Niles Avenue resident Caitlin Santora. Since people are not allowed to consume marijuana on their property, they’ll meet and find a nearby street to ease their pain, which is on Niles Avenue. Then they’ll be driving through Madison and Chatham under the influence.”

Said Councilman John Hoover, “This is not recreational marijuana. It is medical, highly regulated, highly monitored, highly controlled, and highly reported on. I do not believe that we should be against this. I think that people that need medical marijuana ought to have access to it, and they should have access to it fairly close to where they live.”

In 2020, Councilman Eric Range noted, 63 percent of Madison voters supported a 2020 state referendum to legalize recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey, “so I’ve got to extrapolate that there’s support out there for a more limited, regulated medical use of cannabis.

“Towns across New Jersey every year approve liquor licenses like nothing, and we all know that there are issues around that with parents providing underage alcohol, or what have you,” Range said. “I think this notion that a medical cannabis dispensary is some Boogeyman hiding under our bed is not one that really is based in reality.”

Madison Mayor Robert Conley said the council would work to get further information to answer the residents’ concerns by Dec. 12.

To view the dispensary’s application, visit

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