Bellmawr surprised to hear it may host N.J. pot center

    The administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has designated six groups to grow and sell medical marijuana as part of the state’s new program. But the plan already has some officials concerned.

    Bellmawr in Camden County may be the home to one of six centers, but that came as a surprise to the borough’s council.

    Mayor Frank Filipek said he hasn’t been contacted by Compassionate Care Foundation Inc., the nonprofit group that will run the program in the area.

    Filipek, who said the details haven’t been made clear to the residents or council, said outraged residents have been calling him since Bellmawr was selected.

    “People get upset because they don’t know what’s going on. I don’t blame them,” he said. “I’m upset myself. I’m the mayor and I don’t even know what’s going on. I mean, how do you make commitments and statements and you don’t even notify the public?”

    Filipek said he doesn’t want to stop treatment centers that will help patients with certain medical conditions, but wants information ahead of time.

    William Thomas, a board member with Compassionate Care Foundation, said the center had not reached out to officials because the plans are still in the earliest stage.

    “Nothing has been confirmed about Bellmawr. We have not talked to the zoning people there and we have not had any confirmation from the mayor,” he said “So we are looking at other towns … We’re open to people coming to us and offering to give us a home”

    Bellmawr has a building that would house the center nicely and offer 100 new jobs.

    Center representatives plan to reach out to the mayor later this week, but are also looking for other South Jersey locations in case the location in Bellmawr doesn’t work out.

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