Despite concerns, Pennington Council maintains support for three cannabis retail establishments in the township.
Council President Kit Chandler, Councilor Charles Marciante, Councilor Kati Angarone, Councilor Nadine Stern and Councilor Ken Gross voted “yes” during a meeting on 6 June which confirmed their initial support for three resolutions for at Cannique, Fine Fettle and Jersey Meds cannabis retailers. Management.
Resolutions authorize the zoning officer to issue zoning letters as soon as possible.
Councilwoman Deborah Gnatt abstained from voting.
The issue of cannabis was raised at the meeting following a letter sent by Cannique’s representatives, who asked the council to reconsider the action previously taken to support the three establishments.
District Attorney William Bliss said the letter said, “Jersey Meds Group did not act in good faith and hid the fact that it had established a new Jersey Meds LLC and had also changed ownership just before the Board acted. on the resolution of the three applicants on May 2. “
Bliss further said the letter called for the withdrawal of the Jersey Meds or Cannique resolution “would have no choice but to withdraw its application from the municipality and requests that the application requiring a fee rate be returned immediately. $ 2,500 “.
“We understand that Jersey Meds not only changed its name, it changed its legal entity,” said Rachel Donington, president of Cannique. “We considered the process of a conditional license and understood that it requires a different organizational setup. We believe Jersey Meds removed one or two directors from its original organization to qualify for this conditional filing.”
He noted that “the director of the organization must earn less than a certain amount of money annually with his taxes to qualify to be a conditional license applicant.”
“Cannique didn’t do it because we weren’t going to change our structure. We were already organized as an LLC (limited liability company) and had an operating agreement, “Donington said. conditional “.
Alan Fox, a lawyer for Jersey Meds in Capehart Scatchard PA, Trenton, responded that “letters and comments made by Cannique contain inaccurate information.”
“We never intended to commit any forgery. His comment that Jersey Meds Management is a new entity is false and misleading,” Fox said. “This entity was created in 2020 and this entity has been operating a business in a neighboring town for two years. Jersey Meds Management is the applicant in the state of New Jersey for the retail license.
He added that Jersey Meds Management is the tenant of the retail operation at Pennington Square Mall.
“We have never falsified who we are and [of] our intentions to be in the city. We presented the testimony in April and we showed you that we met all the elements of your statute as to the suitability of the location, “Fox said.” All I hear from Cannique’s letter is … talk about its suitability. Nowhere else have they questioned the appropriateness of our location. “
Following the comments from Jersey Meds, one of the questions asked by Councilwoman Nadine Stern revolved around comments made by Jersey Meds representatives at a meeting in Hopewell Township in May for a supportive resolution.
Hopewell Township officials had asked Jersey Meds if they had received letters of support from both Hopewell Township and Pennington.
“Someone’s answer was that you would commit to Hopewell Township. Is that correct?” Stern asked.
Jersey Meds representatives said they first arrived in the Pennington district.
“It simply came to our notice then [Pennington] and at the time Hopewell Township was not prepared to issue a resolution for retail, “representatives said.” At the moment, we do not have a Hopewell Township resolution and we have a Pennington support resolution. We will stick with that. “
Ryan Kennedy, a Fine Fettle attorney at Stevens & Lee PA, Lawrenceville, said his client’s concerns align with the concerns addressed at the meeting.
He said that “appearance and process and fair play are essential for public bidders and for Pennington to get essentially what he negotiated.”
Kennedy added that there are two material changes that the two Jersey Meds Management entities have made since they initially filed their applications.
“One is the location. And I want to be very specific about Jersey Meds in terms of its corporate composition. The application required the name of the entity and, most importantly, the composition of the entity. “, he said.
“We removed the corporate records and these two entities do not have the same ownership. In fact, the entity you have been asked to award had changed ownership on April 22, after seeing the [other] applicants and locations. [They changed] their property so that they can comply [a conditional license] process. ”