EDITOR’S NOTE: NJ Cannabis Insider is hosting an in-person day-long conference and networking event Sept. 23 at the Carteret Performing Arts Center, featuring many of the state’s leading power players. Tickets are limited.
Tropical Storm Ida damaged a new marijuana cultivation site in South Jersey, likely delaying the planting of cannabis plants there, the company has announced.
Construction at the Acreage Holdings site in Sewell was nearly finished when the storm hit, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Acreage bought Compassionate Care Foundation last year, and also grows medical marijuana in Egg Harbor Township. It has dispensaries there, in Atlantic City and Monroe Township.
“The damage will significantly delay the opening of the Sewell cultivation center,” Steve Goertz, Acreage’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.
Acreage had planned to start producing marijuana at the site in early 2022, he said. Now, that’s “unlikely.” The company described the damage as “extensive.”
But Goertz said he did not expect the damage to have an impact on the company’s financial condition.
This isn’t the first roadblock hindering plans to grow medical marijuana in Sewell. The company applied for a zoning permit to operate a cannabis growing facility in the former orchid warehouse in June of 2019. But Mantua Township, where Sewell is located, did not issue approval or denial of the permit in 10 days, and the grow facility moved forward on construction with implied approval.
The town changed course months later and issued a denial. Acreage ultimately sued, and a court ruled earlier this year that the company could proceed with the site because Mantua did not have an ordinance banning the cultivation of medical cannabis.
After Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law to allow legal weed sales to those 21 and older, municipalities had six months to decide if they would allow, restrict or ban cannabis businesses. Mantua moved to ban all types of cannabis businesses.
Ramping up the amount of cannabis grown in New Jersey is vital to provide for the more than 114,000 registered patients in the state. They have long complained of product shortages and high costs when trying to use dispensaries.
Several new dispensaries have opened in 2021, easing access for some. But without increased supply, prices will likely remain high and the legal market stifled. According to state regulations, legal sales must begin by February 2022.
Ida hit New Jersey hard, killing 27 people. Flash flooding turned streets into rivers, sent parked cars bobbing and forced some homeowners to shelter on their second floors. In South Jersey, a tornado ripped through homes.
Six counties, including Gloucester, where Mantua sits, have been declared major disaster areas by President Joe Biden. Individuals there are eligible for financial assistance to recoup loses caused by the storm.
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Amanda Hoover may be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj.