Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Middle Denies Support to Second Cannabis Retail Applicant


By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – Back in October, Middle Township Committee made it clear the township would support only one adult-use cannabis retail establishment. The governing body set up a process by which it would evaluate applicants. A month ago, the township announced its support for an application from INSA, an out-of-state firm already active in the emerging cannabis industry outside of New Jersey.
On Nov. 7, the committee formally denied support to a second applicant, C3 Middle Township LLC, a newly formed limited liability corporation. No information was provided on the individuals involved in the company and a check online shows no specifics of ownership or any social media sites. 
Under state rules, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will not act favorably on any class of cannabis license unless the applicant has the support of the local municipality. By denying support to C3 Middle Township the governing body has effectively killed any chance at a state license for business in the township. Township officials said the applicant may bring a lawsuit over the denial.
INSA has been working with the township on a potential cannabis business since early 2021, when the township supported the company’s application for a medical cannabis retail store, along with a cultivation and manufacturing facility in an abandoned seafood processing plant on Indian Trail Road. 
The state dealt a blow to the plan when INSA failed to receive the medical dispensary license and altered its plans to limit activity at the default plant to cultivation and processing of cannabis. The company is currently presenting plans for the facility to the township Zoning Board.
Meanwhile, INSA is seeking a Class 5 license for an adult-use cannabis retail outlet which it hopes to locate on Route 9 in Rio Grande on the empty site of the former Four Seasons Diner. Some residents are opposed to the plan, citing added traffic flow in what is already a busy retail corridor. Others who oppose the township’s support of INSA’s application do so because they feel the Rio Grande area is already plagued by problems of substance abuse and a retail marijuana establishment will only add to them. 
Those who support a cannabis retail outlet in the township cite the support township voters gave to the cannabis legalization referendum, the potential for a new source of tax revenue that will help offset pressures on the property tax rate and the fact that nearby municipalities in Lower Township and West Cape May have already announced support for adult use retail outlets. 
So far, the CRC has not approved any license for either medical or recreational cannabis retail in Cape May County. 

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