Mayor Says Pot Shop is Just Another "Retail Store"

Mayor John McCormac got some questions at Tuesday's council meeting about how the medical marijuana dispensary coming to town was on the QT for over a year.

The that may soon be setting up on Route 1 in Woodbridge is just another retail store.

Mayor John McCormac said that the opening of the Compassionate Care Center of New Jersey's pot shop "is just like ," a mid-level retailer soon to be moving into old Fortunoff store.

"It's a retail use turning into another retail use," the mayor said, comparing Compassionate Care to the new flagship department store due to open at the local mall.

The mayor and other officials were peppered with questions from the public at a Tuesday night council meeting about the  that the medical marijuana emporium was coming to town.

McCormac said then that he knew about the company's efforts to open in Woodbridge at the "about a year ago." The mayor didn't divulge that information, he said, because of the "confidential negotiations" between the cannabis retailer and the owner of the building.

According to McCormac, he finally released the news last week because the building purchase had been finalized.

"It was a long and contentious fight," the mayor said between the medical marijuana vendor and the store owner. 

McCormac defended his decision to keep the news of the marijuana warehouse to himself.

"The employees don't know, the shareholders don't know, the investors don't know," he said of such internal corporate decisions such as the purchase of the 6th Ave. Electronics store.

But in other towns, where news got out that medical marijuana concerns were trying to move in, homeowners - and in some cases, politicians - projected a galvanized resolve to keep the pot shops out.

In February, Compassionate Care gave up a legal battle to try to overturn a zoning board decision that turned away the pot seller as a non-permitted use under their land ordinance laws. A warehouse site in New Brunswick was also abandoned last year because of zoning issues.

Most recently in New Jersey, homeowners in Freehold fought to keep a medical marijuana dispensary from gaining a foothold. In California, which has much more lax marijuana laws than New Jersey, the Los Angeles city council ruled to close all pot shops because of the crime problem.

Woodbridge Republican chairman John Vtaric asked McCormac why other towns had fought so hard to keep the pot warehouses out of their towns. Vtraric noted the same criminal element issues that other towns have used as a means of keeping the cannabis dispensaries at bay.

"They aren't providing jobs for their residents like we are," McCormac said to laughs from several council and audience members.

There was also questions about why the pot shop news was kept so secret from township residents.

When Woodbridge resident Gerald Trabalka wondered why the public was kept in the dark, Council President Gregg Ficarra snapped, "It's a done deal. Get to the point."

That wasn't quite true, according to McCormac. He said that the marijuana store still had to before it could open. Tom Maras, a frequent critic of the mayor, said later that he wondered why Compassionate Care would spend so much money on a building if someone in Town Hall hadn't already told them they were guaranteed approval.

Last week, McCormac said that where other towns rejected medical marijuana dispensaries, they were "Welcome in Woodbridge."

One of the selling points for the dispensary were the 50 jobs it would bring to town - many of them part time jobs for off-duty police, since pot shops need to be heavily guarded - and the payment of new property taxes.

Vtaric asked if the pot shop would be able to garner one of the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) abatements popular among new businesses moving into town.

McCormac indicated it was a possibility. "We don't know yet. They have to apply," he said.

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Greg Logan September 05, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Hey guys.... you are talking about flowers and leaves here... and peaceful users who primarily use for various therapeutic purposes. OK, I grant that it is a little disappointing - the snapping and the like - but that is a personal issue. Let's move on to important things - like ending government violence against peaceful citizens as whole. When that happens, there will be no need for a police guard. We need to think with our brains rather than the heavily propagandized enculturation we have all been bred into in the USA (sadly). Greg Logan WA State
John Ulman September 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
need to control the government but we need help controlling people. I am don't understand why we have allowed so many eligal people into this country. They are taking job of low and middle class job. Resulting more eligal action of these people. Also causing people look at these people a dirt. We need to get job for these people and eliminate eligal people entering the country. This give people who create small businesses to use these illegal person to work for them at a lower cost than a normal legal person.
So Much to Say September 05, 2012 at 08:35 PM
The Mayor intentionally kept all of the taxpayers in the dark over this. His cohorts (council) are defending Mac's decision. Does anyone see it's long over due that the tax payers need to show all of these hogs the door? Obviously NO respect for the taxpayers whatsoever. VOTERS WAKE UP!
Tom Maras September 05, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Look who is back at work after the holiday weekend. Hey Foxxy, why don't you man-up (or whatever) and tell us if your fox whole is at 1Main St., 569 Rahway Ave. or do you just burrow in wherever your tail fits? Oh by the way, I doubt you would know the truth if it caught your tail! But then again, you have so many tales to spare!
Tom Maras September 05, 2012 at 08:49 PM
@Greg Logan. Wow, someone from WA State is responding to a NJ site! So little old Woodbridge Patch has gained national recognition. How vindicating! How's your crop out there?
Tom Maras September 05, 2012 at 09:27 PM
@so much to say, your points are well taken. History shows that absent of a major upheaval, change comes slowly. When the good people of Woodbridge have had enough, they will show the self-serving, nepotistic, crony hiring/promoting political despots the door. It is, after all, their community save or lose! let us hope they do so for their sake and the sake of their heirs, sooner than later!
Brian September 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM
gam September 05, 2012 at 11:20 PM
So much drama! What exactly are you afraid of? A secure building housing a legally and medically regulated substance? You already have many of them in the township called pharmacies. The patients that would have a legal prescription to obtain the substance? Why? Does the sight of chronically ill, dying, suffering people bother you? I hope it does because if you were the family member of any of these people you would welcome the opportunity to relieve some of their suffering. Property values? Exactly what kind of impact is this going to have on homeowners in Colonia or Sewaren? None! We have a sex offender unit and state prison in our township-did you forget? NIMBY syndrome is everywhere. As for the comment regarding off duty police-well quite frankly I'm not sure what that is even supposed to be about. The facility will hire off duty police officers. The facility will pay the off duty police officers. Anyone with half a brain would know that the mayor did not encourage the facility to get off duty jobs for the cops....please don't even bother to come back with an argument over this. It is simply not worth it to the mayor politically or personally-there are already many many off duty jobs available within the township.
gam September 05, 2012 at 11:21 PM
One last thing....I believe it was quite a few months ago when there was information out about a possible medical marijuana facility coming to Woodbridge....no location was discussed but the idea of welcoming it to Woodbridge was definitely out there. For some reason I thought I actually read it in one of the Woodbridge News pamphlets but I am trying to research if that was the source
John Ulman September 05, 2012 at 11:57 PM
When I was LA and they seem to feel the same way, but they were getting grass into the state from Mexico. I also know a kid who would take a little grass from the mother. It did direct him towards a stronger compound while he was in high school. While we meet in the Army and in Vitnam he found guess there and smoked it.
Al McDorman September 06, 2012 at 12:51 AM
To many in town, the issue may be less about the.pot farm coming to town than about the cagey character of the political dealings that too often if not always seem to go on with the MacCormac administration while we, the people, only serve the function of giving him the right to do his thing. As for the jobs for the farm patrol, I read that the cops must live in Woodbridge to get the jobs by a provision to which the building owner had to agree to. So those are all going to the WPD apparently rather than LEOs from the County or State.
John Ulman September 06, 2012 at 02:03 AM
We need to remember this when he is up for reelection you no for him
Cin September 06, 2012 at 02:06 AM
I bet some of these "eligals" you speak of can form better sentences than you!
gam September 06, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I am no fan of the mayor. From the Avenel First Aid Squad, handling of the Big Shots issue, the Country Club deal, his plans for low income housing on Rahway Ave, "takeover" of the Hungarian Hall and everything in between I think he is a bully and our town council a bunch of rude arrogant individuals....these are the issues I take with me on election day. I live in hope of a candidate that offers something better~and while they may show a pattern of behavior towards the taxpayers I try to look at the actual issue and its implications for the residents. I have yet to see any argument that is supported with any type of fact that would be just cause for not allowing this facility to be established in Woodbridge. Personally I find myself in the odd position of supporting the mayor on this issue. I am hoping to find the source of the information I read months ago about the facility coming to Woodbridge which would negate the argument about the secrecy surrounding it.
gam September 06, 2012 at 02:19 AM
There are a lot of things I will remember at election time....however this issue will be one of the few positives when it comes to making my decision.
gam September 06, 2012 at 02:26 AM
to Al- I would assume that the security jobs would go to the off duty Woodbridge Police as is the norm in the township. Not sure about the residency issue though as many WPD officers live out of the township.
Gordo K September 06, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Glad you said it all, gam. Unless there's incredible voter fraud going on, the people of the Township have the representation that they've chosen, whether we like it or not.
So Much to Say September 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Mayor Says Pot Shop is Just Another "Retail Store" ....What a freaken joke "Just another retail shop" Mac is so out of touch with reality. Oh that's right the puppy mills in town are just another retail shop too. When are the voters going to wake up. This mayor is a bully, liar and is only out for himself. The mayor is supposed to work for the residents, not solely for himself. Time to clean house and trounce the entire council and Mac.
Brooke Smith September 06, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Just another retail shop???!! Where does the mayor shop? It's time to clean house fast before things get worse than what they are, a pot shop, seedy motels, a porn store yeah that's what I want Woodbridge to be known for. Kind of makes you wonder how much of a kick back the mayor is getting out of this.
NikkiD September 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM
It might be profitable for me to open a 24 hour bakery with warm baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls served day and night. Hey, they might have to head off those munchies : D
slyfox1961 September 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
@maras: yes, Tom, I am back at work after my off time. I would thank you for the holiday pay, but since you pay no taxes that would be a waste of my time.
John Ulman September 06, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I think you are right. We are shaped like CA on the ocean so I guss he want to make New Jersey the same way. We need to get someone in office that is more interested in the township and the people. This man is out for him self, just like a lot of them in Washington DC.
John Ulman September 06, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Tom I pay taxes like all the rest of USA legal personal. It's those who come to this country and work for lower wages that don't pay taxes. We should send them all back to were they came from or to China
John Ulman September 06, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I agree he is like many of the official that think that way. We need new people. I think a 2 year term is all they should have and if they are doing shit send the home and get a no person
Tom Maras September 07, 2012 at 01:47 PM
John, thanks for your comments. Ditto to the others as well. Whether it is a PotShop, Medicare, Medicate, Social Security or Welfare, if they have loopholes (and which ones don't) there will always be two things you can count on. The first is someone will find a way to game the system and share that knowledge with others. The second is that as long as it serves their interests, politicians and bureaucrats will allow the gaming!
gary seven October 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Yeahhh, it's WEED-BRIDGE now, still can't figger out they are gonna circumvent the fed CDS laws on this one......
gary seven October 11, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Ssssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhh, TOM, a don't ask, don't SMELL, we smell some payoffs and out of town political hires to make this deal possible
gary seven October 11, 2012 at 06:10 PM
How many WHS students wil have the requirements to handle drugs????? Oh Oh , that don't sound right
gary seven October 11, 2012 at 06:12 PM
We're not PO'ed about the pot shoppe, it's the sneeeeeeeeeeeeeky underhanded way the township does biz and the people are the last to know the local OTW was handled the same way 6 yrs ago and peole kept outa the loop, I really don't kare if they put a meth lab there, just tell the peppes what is going on
gary seven October 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM
just like the OTW Siting of MAY 2006.page 43 on ---read it.................. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/legislativepub/pubhear/swt051106.pdf SENATOR BUONO: But isn’t part or the problem the public perception associated with OTB, that there’s local objection? I know iin Woodbridge-


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