Cannabis sales discussed at council meeting
The Hammonton Town Council discussed several topics, most notably the next legal actions in a lawsuit with Frog Rock Golf & Country Club and a meeting detailing some details about cannabis sales in Hammonton during their meeting on Sept. 25 at town hall.
The meeting began with a presentation from Slap Consulting, LLC on the sale and use of cannabis in the town of Hammonton. The presentation outlined and discussed several key points on the sale of cannabis, such as some state guidelines for the sale of the substance, some economic benefits and the risks associated with allowing the sale of cannabis.
Some of the key points in this presentation involved potential revenue for the town of Hammonton, security concerns and some of the optimal points where cannabis dispensaries should be placed.
Amanda Ostrowitz, the founder of Slap Consulting and the presenter at the meeting, gave an overview of multiple guidelines and laws for cannabis dispensaries. She pointed out that, security-wise, towns that sold recreational adult-use cannabis experienced a plateau of crime or, in some cases a decrease. She ensured the council that laws require cannabis dispensaries to keep all of their products in opaque containers so that the product cannot be seen. Sellers are not allowed to market to children in any way and children are not allowed in dispensary facilities whatsoever.
She said that Hammonton could gain up to $1 million in extra revenue over the course of 10 years if sales are handled properly.
“We already know that cannabis is legal in New Jersey and it’s up to each locality to decide if they’re going to use it,” Ostrowitz said. “But at the end of the day, cannabis is already in Hammonton and every other jurisdiction in New Jersey, and it’s a question of whether or not Hammonton wants to regulate cannabis in this jurisdiction and provide safe access and reap the economic benefits.”
Also discussed in the meeting were details concerning a lawsuit from Frog Rock Golf & Country Club brought against the town of Hammonton. Originally brought up four years ago, the lawsuit claims that overflow waste water spilled onto the grounds of the golf course.
After negotiations on the matter over several years, a $600,000 settlement was proposed by the parties involved with the case. It was brought to the town council meeting by Brian Howell, who is acting as a conflict counsel on the matter. Town insurance would cover $540,000, meaning that the town itself would only be responsible for paying $60,000 out of pocket to settle the case. By settling the case, the town would no longer be responsible for any other part of the litigation of the case.
Howell said that if they do not settle the case, the cost of fighting it in court could be up to $800,000 in attorneys’ fees and other court-related costs. The trial date for the case is set for Nov. 20.
The town council voted to approve the settlement contingent that, should there be any future spills on the property, Frog Rock would report them to the government of Hammonton within eight hours. The language would protect the local government from further legal action from Frog Rock as well.
Other items on the agenda included reports from each of the council members. Some important items discussed included details about early and mail-in voting, Atlantic City Electric’s tree-trimming, a finalized date and time for trick-or-treating on Halloween from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Several resolutions were also passed in the meeting. Resolution #126-2023 authorizes special services contracts for years 2023 and 2024. These services include repairs to electrical plants, animal control and cleaning services.
Other resolutions passed during the meeting include resolution #129-2023 to accept two grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation totaling $30,567.90 to improve taxiway A at Hammonton Municipal Airport; resolution #128-2023 that recognizes Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in Hammonton; and resolution #132-2023 that rewards the bid for the 2023 Roadway Improvement Program to Arawak, Inc.
The next Town Council meeting will be held on Oct. 23 at town hall.