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Medical Marijuana Ok On Preserved Farms, State Says


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TRENTON — Medical marijuana may be grown and processed on preserved farms, but growers will not receive protection under the Right to Farm Act, the State Agriculture Development Committee said today.


The clarification came on the heels of a Thursday morning SADC meeting at which Upper Freehold Township residents implored the panel not to recognize medical marijuana as an agricultural crop allowed on preserved farmland. They also criticized the process that allowed a federally outlawed drug to be grown and distributed here in the first place.


Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center has expressed interest in at least five properties in Upper Freehold as sites for growing medical marijuana, Mayor LoriSue Mount said. Some of those, including at least one on Rues Road, are preserved farms.


“This is not a crop,” said Kim Lima of the township. “It is going to be cement and it is going to be grown hydroponically. We as taxpayers and as farmers have put all this land aside for preserved farmland and open space, not so a company can come in, and build something and...change the whole country atmosphere that we chose to live in."


But medical marijuana is considered an agricultural crop based on New Jersey’s agricultural statutes, according to a question and answer statement issued by the SADC this aternoon. Therefore, it can be grown and processed on a preserved farm, according to the SADC.


Medical marijuana will be prohibited on only about 140 of the state’s 2,000-plus preserved farms, those that are protected with federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program funding, SADC spokeswoman Hope Gruzlovic said. Because growing marijuana is prohibited at the federal level, the Natural Resources Conservation Service will not permit it to be grown on any farm that has been preserved with federal funds, Gruzlovic said.


Medical marijuana growing and processing also is not protected under the Right to Farm Act, because the act requires compliance with all federal law, Gruzlovic said. The act provides farmers with legal protection from restrictive ordinances among other benefits, she said.


Mount said she’s not satisfied with their decision: By federal standards, medical marijuana is still illegal, she said.


“In my mind it still comes down to the bottom line, that it is against the federal law,” Mount said Thursday night. “Illegal is illegal. It’s plain and clear. If we don’t follow laws then where does that leave us?”


A Dec. 15 hearing will be held on an ordinance the Upper Freehold Township governing body has introduced; it would prohibit any project that applies to a local board that would violate federal law.


Residents said Upper Freehold Township leads the state in preserved land; 8,600 acres have been preserved here. Allowing medical marijuana would devastate the rural character of the town, they said.


They also said they were concerned about adding the potential for more crime from the facility in a town policed only by state troopers. Others said including marijuana as an agricultural crop would make government funds more difficult for traditional farmers to obtain.


“We certainly understand...just what Upper Freehold has done in terms of farming communities, quality of life, farming life,” said SADC chair and Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher at the morning meeting. “We've heard you.”


All the SADC’s actions are subject to veto by the governor, but the position statement is not considered a committee action, Gruzlovic said.


Breakwater is one of six facilities the state this year preliminarily approved to grow and distribute marijuana. Breakwater officer Andrew Zaleski said after the meeting that the facility also still hopes to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Manalapan but he declined to comment further.

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I listened to the Republican debate last night and the cry of State rights was referenced dozens of times over and over . This is interesting are they refering to co-ops grows here for NJ and these areas are State owned or do big corperations buy these farms which can never be developed, determine what to grow and run them ?

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Every time i hear "federally illegal" it makes me want to put my foot in someones arse!!!! Medcnman.



As a patient everytime i see any regulation which ends up decreasing access and increasing expenses for the sick and injured thus depriving them of comfort along with funds for food , shelter , and other healthy activities I am equally upset . I ftry hard not to let it turn into anger which is always used against our community and negative . Prohibitionists are extremely angry violent people whose actions of depriving people of work , abillity to travel in society , normal medical care , loss of freedom , supported by fines and even taking away property display exactly what they are and how they seek to profit from their actions . We desire peace and inclusion they always seek to divide citizens .

Edited by Croppled1
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I gotta agree with ScrogBubbles on this one. I don't like the idea of paving over a preserved framland for any reason, not just MMJ. These farms were not preserved to be paved over a later date.

could be typical knee jerk by the counsel-woman I would love to see a cali style grow on a real farm. If they are planning on paving I am not down for that.

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If we don't grow medical cannabis on farms, industrial hemp should be legalized. Use the power of hemp to change the world. Use hemp as bio fuels, clothing, textiles, use the seeds for nutrition, cold press them for the oil in the seeds. The first car Henry ford built was of hemp. The fuel the body and interior. For every acre of trees cut you can get 4 times the amount using hemp. Logic doesn't make sense to our government does it. Vote Ron Paul for a real change. A change for the people not big government taking our money. Speed the word!!

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