A public Q&A forum was held on Thursday, May 20, by Hopewell Township to discuss the recent legalization of cannabis by the State of New Jersey and how new regulations on the industry might affect the municipality. The meeting, led by Committee member Michael Ruger, was the first and only planned forum presenting different sides of the argument for allowing or not allowing marijuana entrepreneurs to set up shop in Hopewell.
Residents were provided with the opportunity to speak with a panel of members of the community: Scott Miccio, a municipal and governmental attorney; HT Police Director Robert Karmazin; Heidi Kahme, chair of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance; and Dr. Thomas Smith, superintendent of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District.
“The purpose of the panel was twofold. First, we wanted to get the views of the groups noted above. Second, we wanted to get the views of the public. This is an important issue for the community and we wanted to hear what people were thinking about it,” Ruger said.
Ruger explained that he did reach out to the New Jersey League of Municipalities and a representative of the cannabis industry but did not hear from either.
The percentage of Hopewell Township residents who voted in favor of cannabis legalization closely tracked the overall state statistics, explained Ruger, who said that 70% of voters in Hopewell voted for legalization, while the overall state statistic is 67.1%.