Sunday, April 14, 2024

Cannabis Farm Proposed for Hardwick

A medicinal cannabis farm could be coming to Hardwick but there will be a few details to work out first.

Veda Farms, which describes itself as a holistic wellness company, is proposing a cannabis growing facility on property along Millbrook Road. Smrita M. Choubey, founder of Veda Farm, described their proposal to establish a cultivation center on 50 acres, which she described as having sufficient natural buffers. 

“Veda Farm is a holistic medicine company,” Choubey said. “We are focused on creating holistic alternatives to pharmaceuticals. We have received a conditional license to cultivate cannabis from the state of New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission.” 

The site already includes infrastructure, including a long driveway and several barns. 

Township attorney Igor Bykov said at a February 21 township committee meeting that several conditional use variances would possibly be needed for the site, as preliminary plans he’s seen indicate both indoor and outdoor cultivation could be taking place. Water usage is also a concern to the township, and he added that the municipality’s engineer and planner will have to make recommendations about how to proceed. 

Growing cannabis requires extensive security measures, including eight-foot fences secured with industrial grade locks. Choubey said their plans include full video surveillance and an on-site security person 24/7. Mayor Chris Jacksic said he was particularly concerned about the security issue. 

The odors emanating from the plants, particularly during the flowering state of growth, have been a concern with other cannabis farms, and no less so with Hardwick. Choubey said they do take extensive measures to mitigate any smells coming from their cultivation and that the buffers around the actual planting sites play a large role. 

Veda Farms was granted a use variance for a similar facility in Frelinghuysen in December of 2022. The site, on Kerrs Corner Road, is still awaiting several state approvals. 

A formal application is expected to be submitted to the township land use board within the coming weeks, Choubey said. 

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.