A Massachusetts salesman has been chosen to open Morristown’s first cannabis dispensary.
Uma flowers, started last december by sisters-in-law Priyanka and Tejal Patel in Pepperell, Mass., edged out five other applicants for the Morristown council license.
It was approved on Tuesday by a vote of 6 to 0 — Chairman of the Board Stefan Armington abstained without explanation – in a hybrid meeting that began with a prayer for 19 children and two adults beaten down at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
To advise David Silva, a church pastor, prayed for God to “eradicate violence.” Later, in a gesture planned a few days ago, the mayor Tim Dougherty read a proclamation for next week National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The Uvalde massacre, just 10 days after a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, is “incomprehensible”, and yet another example of “unnecessary evil taking over our country”, the adviser said. Sandy Mayerwho had pushed for the proclamation.
Wearing orange on June 3 won’t be enough to stop this “incredible stupidity,” Mayer said.
“You have to vote for people who have logic. We don’t need 400 million weapons in this country,” the adviser said.
Americans have added 100 million guns since the 2018 massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida; guns now outnumber citizens in the United States, she said.
Acting Attorney General of New Jersey Matt Platkin ordered authorities to step up security at schools across the state following Tuesday’s tragedy in Texas.
The hybrid session, plagued by technical issues that prevented live streaming of the video, included the hiring of a company to oversee Morristown’s affordable housing programs. Residents also spoke of “piling up” – overcrowded homes – in the Third Ward.
A subsidiary of Uma Flowers established in February in Marlton, NJ, plans to lease a former Budget car rental agency and auto repair shop at 102 Ridgedale Ave. for his dispensary in Morristown.
Morris County records show the property was purchased last year for $1million by an entity affiliated with Morris brick and stonewhich operates next door.
Priyanka Patel was a pharmacist for a decade, and Tajel Patel, who holds a master’s degree in public health, spent five years in the healthcare industry before opening their recreational cannabis shop.
“I felt like there were a lot of similarities in running a pharmacy and a dispensary and that’s really what motivated me to move on and join this new industry. … I felt it would be something where I could do what I love but also help people,” said Priyanka Patel The sun newspaper during the opening of the Pepperell store.
The Patels are also seeking approvals for a medical/recreational dispensary in their hometown of Waltham, Mass., according to their website.
Uma Flowers narrowly beat The Summit, a Bridgewater candidate who started a dispensary for 65-66 Market St. in Morristown, the councilman said Robert Iannaccone, who served on an advisory committee that reviewed nominations submitted in April.
“It was very, very clear that (Uma’s) experience…not just in the industry, but also their work history, and also their experience…with operating stores, was a good solid recommendation,” said said Iannaccone.
The panel included the city administrator Jillian BarrickThe Chief of Police Darnell Richardsoncity attorney David Minchelloand urban planner Phil AbramsonIannaccone said, adding that the requests were so detailed he needed 24 hours to go through them.
A scoring system based on criteria from the city’s request for proposal produced a tie, Barrick told the council. When the advisory committee met to discuss her ranking, Uma Flowers’ proposed location was the tiebreaker, she said.
The site is on a busy stretch of Ridgedale Avenue, across from a former motor vehicle inspection station, bank and lumber yard, near the Morris Township border.
A maximum of two cannabis licenses were allowed when council passed an ordinance last december indicating where dispensaries could be located and under what conditions.
Only one license was issued, Barrick said, because all six applicants proposed recreational cannabis dispensaries. The order specifies that a license should be for medical cannabis, she said.
If the council wants a second cannabis retailer, it likely needs to change the measure, Barrick said. Either way, a new round of nominations would be needed, she added, responding to a question from Mayer.
It’s wise to wait and see what happens with Uma Flowers, Iannaccone said.
“We’re going to learn a lot of lessons for the next store we do,” the councilman said.
Members of the public, including Summit candidates Joe Savino and local business owner and planning board member Marisa Sweeney, inquired about the scoring process and whether they can review the applications.
Panel score sheets will be publicly available, Barrick said.
Morristown Green filed an application under the Open Public Records Act in April to see the claims. Twice City Clerk Margot Kaye extended the response time by seven days, citing the need to redact the documents.
The other applicants and their proposed locations were Tangerine Tree Dispensary LLC, 153 Morris St.; Atta AMFI, 77-79 Market St.; Sweetspot, 64-55 Ridgedale Ave; and The Banc Street Collective, 51 Bank Street.
It will likely be a while before the Patels can hand out their first package of Jilly Bean in Morristown. The business still requires state approval.
IN OTHER CASES
The board unanimously approved the hiring Community, Grants, Planning and Housing, LLCas the Administrative Officer for Morristown Affordable Housing Services.
Among other duties, the Cranbury firm will oversee and ensure the town’s compliance with a 2018 settlement with the state Fair Housing Center. The agent contract pays a maximum of $34,200.
Resident Carolyn Award and Johnny Jonesa Denville resident with relatives on Grant Street, raised concerns about the piling.
“I mean, it’s been going on for a really long time, and I don’t see anything being done about it,” Price said, adding that the area near Cleveland Street is full of rats and cars from outside. State. (Maryland, in particular.) She observed babysitters trying to watch over as many as a dozen children at a time, she said.
“The stacking is so bad there, you won’t believe it,” Jones added. His daughter and son couldn’t find parking on Grant Street at 4 p.m., he said.
Dougherty, the mayor, said he was going door to door with inspectors, looking for violations of housing laws. He advised Price and Jones to file complaints with the city’s property maintenance officer, either in person or online, anonymously.
Police must also find ways to crack down on out-of-state vehicles that overstay their welcome and hog valuable parking, the mayor said.
Barrick asked for the patience of residents as police and the Morristown Parking Authority begin enforcing the new parking permit requirements for this neighborhood.
On a brighter note, the New York Jets donated $15,000 for 25 computers to the Marion Sally Recreation Center in the village of Manahan, Silva said.