Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cannabis Farm Application for Hardwick Withdrawn

An application for a medicinal cannabis farm in Hardwick has been withdrawn after the owners of the proposed site sold the property to somebody else. 

Veda Farms had proposed a cannabis growing facility on property along Millbrook Road. Smrita M. Choubey, founder of Veda Farms, said she was disappointed in the turn of events but that she still hopes to site a facility in the North Warren area. 

“The property was unfortunately sold to someone else,” Choubey said. “Veda Farms is now pursuing property in other areas and continues to stay committed to bringing our vision to fruition.”

That vision includes building a holistic wellness company.

“Veda Farms 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.” 

Choubey had informally described their proposal to establish a cultivation center on 50 acres to the township committee during several meetings earlier this year. While several committee members had expressed some concerns, they said they were open to hearing more had it gone to the township land use board. 

Mayor Chris Jacksic said he was particularly concerned about the security issue. Extensive security measures are mandated by state law for cultivating cannabis, 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. 

Township attorney Igor Bykov said at a February 21 township committee meeting that several conditional use variances would possibly have been needed for the site, as preliminary plans indicated both indoor and outdoor cultivation could be taking place. 

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. 

These issues will likely have to be resolved in future applications. 

In 2022, Veda Farms had proposed a similar facility in Frelinghuysen. The application for the site on Kerrs Corner Road was withdrawn after several zoning conditions could not be met. 

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.