In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Diane Imus explains why she is opposed to having six cannabis dispensaries in “dense, residential areas.”
I’m writing to voice deep concern about Hoboken’s recreational marijuana dispensary plan. I write through a lens that not many can comprehend – and that’s of a parent who lost their child to a drug overdose.
My son died in Hoboken in 2018. His sustained marijuana use as a teen affected him while his brain was maturing. As he used more, he needed more, and eventually, he turned to other drugs.
Cannabis is a drug and any community plan that allows recreational drug sales while simultaneously eliminating public use penalties must be carefully executed.
I’m not opposed to dispensaries — I’m opposed to installing six of them in dense, residential areas next to parks, the waterfront, schools, and Pier 13.
Hoboken is setting itself up for something it may not be able to control. As a family-oriented town, we’ve been asked to open our doors to many visitors who will affect our quality of life, and there’s no exit strategy if it turns out that having six dispensaries is a disaster.
Hoboken should have one or two dispensaries located on the periphery, perhaps in the new business park where there’ll be parking. We don’t need six in the center of town.
For those who have never been to a dispensary, they generate traffic and crowds. In the Berkshires, Las Vegas, and Denver I’ve seen cars lined up with parking attendants managing the flow of people who drive long distances to buy, and people standing outside, waiting to be admitted.
We’re making it too easy for all of New Jersey and Manhattan to think of Hoboken as the region’s ‘pot destination’ by offering six locations in our town of 60,000 – more than six times the national average.
Our streets by the proposed locations will become crowded with waiting buyers. Kids walking home from school, to grab a slice or go to the park will be exposed on a regular basis to this normalized acceptance of recreational drug use.
Kids who might not have considered using marijuana will see it’s no longer a big deal. But the marijuana of today is nothing like it was twenty years ago in terms of strength– so it IS a big deal.
Neighboring towns have opted out – they have considered the implications and demonstrated their duty of care for their residents.
This means the entire marijuana buying populations of Weehawken, Union City, and Manhattan will be coming into Hoboken to buy marijuana. Hoboken can barely handle the traffic and parking now.
And our police have been asked to enforce ‘no smoking’ on the waterfront or in the parks. How will they enforce edibles?
What’s to stop someone from popping a couple of 10mg gummies before heading over to Pier 13 for a few beers? And then, totally impaired, they’ll get back into their cars.
The Hoboken City Council, mayor and planning board should reconsider the plans. Had all the facts of today been laid out before Hoboken residents and the city council voted to allow recreational marijuana sales, plans may have been made differently.
Profits of a few would not be prioritized over the welfare of the larger community.
In addition to the quality of life and safety issues, it’s unacceptable that the wife of Jersey City mayor, is a landlord in a hotly contested application. Jersey City will not allow dispensaries in residential areas, so the question top of mind is why is it acceptable in Hoboken?
There is no downside to proceeding more cautiously and altering and limiting the plan to ensure it is the right approach for Hoboken.