WEST CAPE MAY – Shore House Canna, the only fully licensed cannabis facility in Cape May County, is planning for a grand opening Saturday, Oct. 28.
Owner Tom Nucis said this is the final step in a process that has taken three years: To open as a recreational cannabis retail outlet.
Nucis said much of the clientele that he anticipates will use Shore House Canna’s services will be those looking for medical benefits or for a sleep aid. According to sleepdoctor.com, low doses of THC, the main ingredient in cannabis that produces a psychoactive effect, may improve sleep. Higher doses can disrupt sleep.
Shore House Canna had a soft opening Monday, Sept. 25, saying it opened the doors without advertising it was doing do. Nucis said the opening allowed them to identify and work out any bugs they might encounter. During the time they were open, he said, most of the customers were over 40, with one being 90 years old.
Nucis said that the week after the opening went very smoothly, with no traffic or parking issues, which were a big concern expressed by neighbors.
“We have gone out of our way to mitigate traffic and parking issues,” he said. “We were busy but had no problems. We trained our staff for a week – we have invested a lot into making sure we are not a problem to the community.”
Nucis said the next big day will be the grand opening, Oct. 28, when there will be an official ribbon-cutting followed by an invitation to see what Shore House Canna’s vendors have to offer. There will be tents set up where his distributors can display their products, including grinders, which are used to break up the cannabis flowers into smaller, smokable pieces, as well as rollers, papers, pipes and so on. There will also be giveaways (no cannabis).
“The variety of products has really grown since the ’60s,” he said.
Nucis, who has operated Pappy’s Pig Roast for 32 years, said they are having a pig roast with the cooperation of the Exit Zero Filling Station across the street.
Those who would like to purchase cannabis products, smokables or edibles will have to present a valid driver’s license at the door to show they are over 21. Shore House Canna will have a loyalty program where frequent customers can earn points; all transactions will be private.
There will be no cannabis products on the floor. Customers will not come into contact with cannabis until their order is paid for and filled.
One feature that Nucis feels is a first in the country is a walk-up window. The customer’s ID will be checked, but there will be no physical contact with the individual, who does not have to enter the store.
He said he suspects there are two other firsts involved in the opening of Shore House Canna: That he is the first disabled military veteran owner, and that his business partner, Nicole Melchiorre, is the first female owner.
Nucis recalled that recreational use of cannabis was the subject of a referendum in 2020, when about three quarters of New Jerseyans voted in favor. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law in 2021 decriminalizing marijuana sales and setting up the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee the retail distribution of cannabis.
Nucis said this was a big change from 1937, when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which criminalized marijuana and led to its being classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which the federal Drug Enforcement Administration defines as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Marijuana has not been decriminalized on the federal level.
Nucis said the main proponent of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 had purely racist motivations because, while hemp was widely used for its fibers in the U.S. since the colonial era, recreational marijuana was something imported by immigrant populations.
Shore House Canna, 124 Sunset Blvd., West Cape May, is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nucis said the Borough of West Cape May receives 2% of its gross sales.
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