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County’s First Cannabis Retail Store Has Its Grand Opening

Christopher South
West Cape May Mayor Carol Sabo cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of Shore House Canna, the county’s first retail cannabis facility, on Oct. 28.

By Christopher South

WEST CAPE MAY – After holding a soft opening in September, Shore House Canna, the county’s only cannabis retail facility thus far, had its official opening on Saturday, Oct. 28.

Owner Tom Nuscis told those gathered to witness the event, “This has been a long time coming.”

Nuscis said when he first heard that medical marijuana facilities were opening in the state he determined that he was going to get into the business. When New Jersey voters passed a referendum question supporting the legalization of recreational cannabis use, Nuscis and business partner Nicole Melchiorre were ready to move forward.

The process of getting approval from the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission lasted until August, nearly three years after the referendum, when the commission gave Nuscis its final approval.

Official opening day at the Shore House Canna retail cannabis store in West Cape May. At the base of the steps are, from left, Shore House CEO Dave Christian, owners Nicole Melchiorre and Tom Nuscis, West Cape May Mayor Carol Sabo, Jean Nuscis and Cassandra Farnan of the Fulcrum Design Group. Photo Credit: Christopher South

Nuscis thanked the City of Cape May and its police department for guidance and support, particularly with security and traffic management. The city’s police department contracts with West Cape May, where Shore House Canna is located, for police services.

West Cape May Mayor Carol Sabo cut the ribbon, saying the business would be a plus for the community and raises tax money for the borough. West Cape May will get 2% from every sale, to be put into the general fund. The borough does not have alternative sources of revenue beyond property taxes, and Sabo sees the revenues from Shore House Canna as a real benefit to property owners.

“It’s a real good source of revenue and allows us to abate property taxes,” she said.

Much of the pushback the borough received over the opening of a retail cannabis facility had to do with traffic and parking issues. Sabo said both of those issues are endemic to a tourist community, and Shore House Canna had taken measures to mitigate possible problems.

“They have the required number of parking spaces, and they have upgraded the hardscaping and streetscape, and used a lot of local people to do it,” she said.

Sabo said from what she learned about Shore House Canna she was confident that, for its part, the business was doing everything it could to provide for the safety and security of its neighbors.

In an earlier interview, Nuscis told the Herald that none of the store’s product would be consumed on the property. He also said that online ordering and a pickup window would help speed up the process for many customers.

On Saturday, store security personnel were checking identification of everyone who entered the facility, as well as monitoring how many people were in the store. The sales room includes touchpad kiosks where customers can place an order.

Customers then pay at a sales counter, and their order is packaged in another part of the store. The customers’ only contact with the product is when they are handed their final order.

Melchiorre said the mood was exciting on Saturday.

Customers wait in line at Shore House Canna to pay for orders placed via touchpads in the showroom. Their packaged order was provided once ready. No cannabis products are in the showroom. Photo Credit: Christopher South

“It’s exciting to see people here enjoying what we have created,” she said.

Melchiorre said she was happy with the size of the turnout and, while her business doesn’t ask for addresses or maintain customer lists, she felt people were coming from a larger area.

After the opening, customers were invited to cross the street and enjoy a pig roast at the Exit Zero Filling Station. Nuscis has operated Pappy’s Pig Roast for 32 years. Customers could also browse vendors’ tables and products, or simply listen to live music.

Shore House Canna is located at 124 Sunset Blvd., West Cape May, 609-600-3452, shorehousecanna.com.

Contact the author, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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