March 9, 2022

To the Editor:

The possibility of cannabis dispensaries appearing in Princeton is fading fast. While local papers reported only weeks ago that the Cannabis Task Force was to recommend up to three dispensaries within the town, that possibility has apparently become upended. While 78 percent of Princetonians voted in November of 2020 to approve legalization in the state of New Jersey, a very vocal group in opposition to dispensaries in Princeton has apparently dominated the discussion at Cannabis Task Force meetings. I have heard that at those meetings upwards of 80 percent of voices are in opposition. Recently, we have all seen mailings from this group in an attempt to drum up support for their position. Overall, this has understandably created a lot of pressure on town leadership who might be reluctant to move ahead with dispensaries unless they hear more of a voice from people who heretofore have considered dispensaries in town a done deal.

I won’t reiterate the arguments on both sides. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what the evidence is. It doesn’t matter that marijuana was legalized in New Jersey. It doesn’t matter what the experience has been in states such as Colorado where recreational marijuana was legalized 10 years ago. It doesn’t matter that alcohol, with dispensaries in Princeton numbering in the double digits, accounts for much more morbidity and hospitalizations than marijuana. What matters is that the town Council also hears in a significant way from Princetonians in favor of dispensaries. They need to hear from the mostly “silent majority” who voted to legalize marijuana. This means writing letters to papers like this, writing to our Council members (princetonnj.gov/872/Mayor-Council), and showing up at the Council meeting on March 29 to advocate for this position. more

To the Editor:

In last week’s Town Topics, a group of letter writers argued that town Council should use “current scientific data that proves there are too many dangers and unknowns to opt-in” to cannabis dispensaries [“Opting Out of Cannabis Dispensaries is Not Prohibition,” Mailbox, March 2]. But in their letter they misrepresent the data they cite.

Specifically, they write that a January 2021 study by the NIH found that “recreational marijuana legalization and greater retail availability of recreational marijuana and alcohol were positively associated with alcohol and marijuana co-use among adolescents.”

Firstly, to clarify, the study, published in the journal Substance Use and Abuse, was funded by the NIH but not conducted by the NIH. It was also specific to one state and one age group, using data from Oregon in 2010-2015 (before legalization) compared with 2016-2018 (post legalization).

What was found? The researchers state, “There was an overall downward trend in the prevalence of past-30-day alcohol and marijuana co-use from 2010 to 2018.” In one of their regression models they found a small increase (1 percent) in past 30-day alcohol and marijuana co-use in areas with high outlet density. This was only true in 2016, not 2018 — suggesting a temporary increase. more

To the Editor:

Now is the time to create a well-regulated and intentional cannabis industry in Princeton. Our entire community, especially our children, will benefit from a thoughtfully considered cannabis dispensary in our beautiful town. I write this letter as a prospective cannabis business owner seeking to bring the therapeutic benefits of cannabis to my community.

I am a contributing member of our society: I am a wife, a mother of two, and a trained neuroscientist and educator. I earned my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University. Importantly, I also personally know the power of cannabis having used cannabis off and on for 20+ years to supplement antidepressants and ADHD meds taken since I was a teen. 

Our endogenous cannabinoid system brings balance and homeostasis to most systems in our bodies. Consuming cannabis can often be helpful to rebalance our systems. Indeed, our earliest medical texts from China and India write of the many ailments that cannabis can treat, and more recent medical use has corroborated many of these uses. Cannabis contains a complex assortment of compounds that act on our brains and bodies. Different plant strains, extraction techniques, and methods of consumption can have or result in different combinations of bio-active compounds. Some combinations work better for some and others for others. Finding the optimal match is an art and science best suited to personalized, in-person assistance and care.  more

To the Editor:

We feel the need to respond to Richard Gulardo’s letter in a recent Town Topics [“Long Held ‘Rule’ of Pedestrian Right of Way in Town Needs to Be Addressed,” Mailbox, February 23]. It is difficult to understand his objections to the continuation of the “rule” that pedestrians have the right of way “not only at intersections, but at many other points along Nassau Street or Witherspoon Street.”

We would like to point out that motor vehicle laws establishing pedestrian right-of-way are enacted at the state level, and Princeton does not have the authority to change these laws. Since 2010 New Jersey state law has required that drivers must stop and remained stopped for pedestrians in marked crosswalks and yield to them in unmarked crosswalks, which exist by definition at every intersection (N.J.S.A. 39:4-36). Beginning March 1 the new NJ Safe Passing Law requires drivers to leave a safe zone — minimum 4 feet — when passing roadway users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchair users. When not possible to pass safely, motorists should slow to 25 mph and be prepared to stop until it is safe to pass with sufficient clearance.

Is Mr. Gulardo suggesting that pedestrians currently have, or think they have the right of way when crossing mid-block, or against a traffic light? If so, that is simply wrong, and we strongly condemn such behavior by pedestrians.  more

March 2, 2022

To the Editor:

Beautiful music, dancing, and a dynamic and powerful sermon were part of the February 27 Black History Month celebration at the First Baptist Church of Princeton. Entitled “Let My Work Speak for Me,” the occasion paid tribute to community leaders. The church was filled with family and well-wishers gathered to honor the efforts of individuals and programs which have enriched and enhanced the lives of others.

Each awardee was introduced by another community activist. Thomas Parker, chair, Princeton Civil Rights Commission, introduced Henry “Hank” Pannell, a longtime member and leading voice of the Princeton Housing Authority; Leticia Fraga, Princeton Council president, recognized the YMCA’s Princeton Young Achievers Program and Mike Roseborough of the Accept Compete Excel program; Princeton Councilmember Leighton Newlin presented an award to former Princeton Councilmember Lance Liverman; Mayor Mark Freda honored Larry and Fern Spruill, founders of Committed and Faithful Princetonians, which mentors youth; and Shirley Satterfield, president of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, recognized business leader Jimmy Mack.

This celebration of the leadership and outstanding contributions of Princeton residents was a joyful and memorable community event and I was glad I was there. 

Linda Sipprelle
Victoria News

To the Editor:

Princeton Mobile Food Pantry (PMFP) is a 501(c)3 organization that provides food and other support to the under-resourced members of the Princeton community. Our focus is to support families with children in the Princeton Public Schools. PMFP currently serves over 180 families (more than 900 individuals) by providing food delivery twice per month.

The need in our community continues to grow. There are many opportunities to help at the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry. Our volunteers pack grocery bags filled with fresh produce and proteins and deliver the groceries directly to our neighbors twice a month. In addition, PMFP has opportunities for volunteers to organize neighborhood drives to help supplement the pantry; school-led drives for hygiene products, back to school items, and summer gear; and partnerships with local businesses to donate goods and/or services. If you are part of a business or organization that can help, or if you are interested in donating or volunteering and becoming a part of our village, please visit PMFPantry.org.  more

To the Editor:

Several months ago a detailed presentation to the Princeton Council elicited enthusiasm from the entire Council and many local dog owners. In order to speed the construction of proper fencing and signage for a future dog park, the Princeton Dog Park Alliance (an official nonprofit organization) was formed in order to raise seed money to encourage the construction of these desperately needed parks.

Please visit princetondogpark.org to join and donate to the future of dog parks in Princeton.

Bruce, Barbara, and Geno Berger
Franklin Avenue

To the Editor:

It has been six months since the tragic death of Pinghua Xu, who was fatally struck by a vehicle and died while crossing Rosedale Road at the Greenway Meadows and Johnson Park School intersection. My heart goes out to Pinghua Xu and his family. What’s even more heartbreaking is that this intersection has been an area of concern for many, many years and if only proper safety measures were put in place when concerns were first raised, maybe Mr. Xu would still be alive today. Before another accident happens, we urge the municipal and county officials to take action and address the safety issue at this intersection immediately.

The Rosedale intersection has been under scrutiny since as far back as 1999 when then-Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand met with Johnson Park’s principal and the Parent Teacher Organization to discuss the dangers of the intersection. In 2016, the intersection was flagged as an area of concern in the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Report. In 2021, we sadly lost a life proving just how dangerous this intersection really is. It is now 2022 and no significant improvements have been made to make the intersection safe. This spans over 20 years. That is far too long. Time is up and we need a solution now.

We believe installing a traffic signal is the best solution. We request for traffic calming measures to be put in place in the meantime. We implore the municipal and county representatives to work together and act now. Please protect our children, elderly, and all pedestrians that use that crosswalk. We have two children at Johnson Park, and their grandmother walks the same path Mr. Xu did. She saw him often on her daily walks. We need to do better to ensure the safety of all.

Pia Ahn
Audubon Lane

To the Editor:

Those in favor of retail cannabis dispensaries in Princeton constantly refer to those of us against them as being stuck in the old mindset about drugs. The reality is, many of those against dispensaries voted to legalize marijuana because they are against the “war on drugs” era of incarceration for minor possession and usage. That’s quite a contemporary opinion, don’t you think? Interestingly, many of the liberals who argue that because cannabis is now legal it should be readily sold in stores everywhere are the very same people that argue that though gun ownership is legal, guns should be very hard to get. We’re not arguing in favor of guns, but we are trying to make the point that legalization and retail sales are not directly linked. Legalization means those that want to enjoy small amounts of cannabis can without the risk of jailtime.

Another argument by pro-dispensary commentators is teens are already using it, so it’d be best if we get a cleaner product in town. These very same people also argue there are laws in place to prevent cannabis sales or use by anyone under age 21. Hmmm, really? Either we’re bringing in cannabis stores to flush out the illegal pot currently being sold to minors and hope it gets in their hands or we’re going to do all we can to ensure the cannabis sold in Princeton doesn’t get into the hands of minors. We can’t have both.

The fact that many Princeton teens already use marijuana is why we should not open dispensaries. Despite what the cannabis industry wants you to believe, studies show that today (not just decades ago) marijuana damages the developing brain. Additionally, the normalizing of marijuana through retail stores was proven in a January 2021 study by the NIH that “recreational marijuana legalization and greater retail availability of recreational marijuana and alcohol were positively associated with alcohol and marijuana co-use among adolescents, and with beliefs favorable to alcohol and marijuana use.” Stores, in our town of over 20 educational institutions, put our teens at more risk. more

To the Editor:

Since those in favor of a marijuana dispensary are not an organized group mass mailing residents as are the NIMBYs in Princeton and surrounding locales, I thought I could at least write to the paper and express my support of Kip Berman’s letter [“Cannabis Dispensaries Shouldn’t Be Treated Any Different Than Liquor Stores,” Mailbox, February 9] recommending them.

I also have a suggestion for a location, which is the Harrison Street Shopping Center. I have no idea how the owners would view this, but they certainly could use the rent. Also, the recent departure of the liquor store seems to create an opening, since, like Kip Berman, I believe retail pot should be managed like liquor.

Douglas Blair
Patton Avenue

To the Editor:

This letter is written to support the creation of a downtown Special Improvement District (SID).  As a career economic developer, a former town level deputy mayor, and a longtime “Tiger Tourist,” it is worth sharing some observations.       

It is no accident that almost every downtown on the East Coast has a SID or a BID (Business Improvement District). SIDs can deliver whatever a town wants such as special events, concerts, downtown marketing, small business counseling, and town level problem-solving/advocacy. The alternative model of managing a downtown through a combination of the Chamber, Merchants Association, and the town will be less effective than a “one-stop” SID.

Questions about reasonable SID fees are valid and deserve consensus. But this legitimate concern should include the larger tax benefit of how a vibrant downtown strengthens residential sales values, which supports the total tax base and impacts the town tax rate. Live, work, play, and stay are all connected. more

February 23, 2022

To the Editor:

Like many others, the number of pedestrians struck by cars in town was a surprise to me, but should it be? If you regularly drive through town, as I do, it has become impossible to do so without running into significant congestion, not only at intersections but at many other points along Nassau Street or Witherspoon Street. The all-pedestrian system may help, but I believe the real problem is the idea and long held “rule” of pedestrian right of way in town. This needs to be addressed.

Princeton has grown very significantly in the last 25 years since I’ve lived here, and the idea that pedestrians can dictate and control the flow of car traffic in Princeton in 2022 is simply living in the past and dangerous. Princeton attracts many drivers from all over the state and country, partially because of the University but also because the town has become a “destination” for New York and Philly residents. The idea that pedestrians can leisurely stroll across the busy downtown streets, often without looking or even considering automobile traffic around them, is a significant part of the problem. The “I have the right of way” attitude does not protect you from vehicles driven by non-residents who may not be familiar with local rules, or even drivers who are stuck at intersections with traffic lights and then a line of pedestrians paying no attention to the traffic congestion around them.  more

To the Editor:

Many have heard about the Cannabis Task Force’s (CTF) recommendations to Princeton Council to allow retail marijuana dispensaries as close as 200 feet to schools, with no setbacks required for houses of worship, drug treatment centers, playgrounds, or child care centers. There have been several unusual and discomforting aspects associated with the CTF’s process.

First, the CTF began by assuming Princeton residents want retail recreational cannabis dispensaries, simply citing a much different vote: the New Jersey vote to decriminalize. However, as Princeton voters we did not vote to put marijuana dispensaries a one-minute walk from our schools and promote their usage in town. Why would Princeton be an outlier vs. the 71 percent of other N.J. municipalities that have opted out of this program? Further, several democratic tools (polls, surveys, and petitions) are showing Princeton voters want the opposite. A NextDoor poll with over 350 participants is showing the majority oppose dispensaries in town. A petition on Change.org against dispensaries in Princeton now has over 800 signatures, having grown consistently over time. A poll in Princeton Perspectives indicated 60 percent oppose dispensaries in Princeton.

Second, the CTF recommendations were written by a group of pro-cannabis participants, including several individuals with state and national roles promoting the cannabis industry. Three members of the six on town Council have taken part, seemingly creating a situation where the vote was determined before it even reached the Council. Shouldn’t the Council take extra care to avoid the appearance of impropriety? Would we invite the American Petroleum Institute to help our town decide if we can drill oil wells and dictate how close to our schools we can drill?  more

To the Editor:

In 2005, I was part of the discussions with then Municipal Administrator Bob Bruschi on creating a Special Improvement District (SID) for Princeton. Unfortunately that effort didn’t get off the ground, and here we are 17 years later, looking at doing this. But, this time, I believe we have the consensus and impetus to move forward.

A Special Improvement District for our town is not an added bureaucratic layer. It is a mechanism for the business community to come together, to work in partnership with one another and to have a private-public partnership with the municipality. Aptly named, the Princeton Business Partnership (the proposed name for the SID) will do just that, build partnership throughout our community. As we have seen through these challenging times the need for better communication and a mechanism for management is clear — we struggled through without a strong voice for the businesses in town. Now we have the opportunity to emerge much stronger by working together to improve our town and enhance our vitality.

SIDs are designed to boost and reinforce economic enhancement of commercial areas by providing a range of focused services customized to local needs in addition to standard municipal services. No, the SID is not intended or allowed to replace municipal services. The SID dollars will be used to enhance existing services or create new ones.  more

February 16, 2022

To the Editor:

Exaggerated representations of the harms of cannabis for nearly a century continue to distort the public’s perceptions to this day. They led to a “war on drugs” with harsh penalties in the 1970s. Those penalties led to high levels of incarceration, especially for people of color, and many other harms. Making cannabis illegal for so many decades has been entirely counterproductive. This has at last been recognized by our state with its recent legalization of this drug following approval by an overwhelming majority in the state referendum. 

In order for legalization to be effective, it is necessary to provide sale of the drug under controlled conditions and to prevent its purchase by minors. However, the objections to such sales which have been raised in our town are based on a poor rationale. 

Cannabis is now legal. In the referendum, an even larger majority in Princeton voted for legalization than in the state as a whole. It is neither reasonable nor effective for the minority who opposed that to try to put up barriers to sales. Such barriers would not prevent use by minors — they would merely benefit the continuation of illegal sales. 

The reality is that Princeton’s children can readily buy illegal cannabis at school at present. That cannabis is totally unregulated and may contain harmful additives. Prohibiting dispensaries in the town for adults will not facilitate students’ access to the drug. Instead, the presence of legal dispensaries will reduce the prevalence of illegal supplies in town and so actually decrease illegal use by minors.  more

To the Editor:

The idea of a Special Improvement District (SID) sounds like a win-win for Princeton.

Generally speaking, SIDs seek to bring about desirable improvements that benefit the business districts, but also the city, town, or county as a whole. The proposed SID for Princeton will be made up of business and property owners who are invested in the town, most of whom live here and all of whom care greatly about the town’s well-being.

I read about a 2018 study of 14 districts and municipalities where 79 percent of residents within special improvement districts felt the SIDs positively impacted their towns or neighborhoods.  more

To the Editor:

I support the establishment of cannabis dispensaries in Princeton proper. I am a 30-year resident of Princeton. There is an alcohol dispensary at the end of my block, and I would like to have a cannabis dispensary next to it. I’d like it to be as easy for me to buy cannabis to enjoy in my home as a responsible adult as it is to buy a bottle of wine.

The alcohol dispensary referred to above is about one-half block from an elementary school and no one seems to mind that. I am more dismayed by the easy access to alcohol in grocery stores than about local cannabis dispensaries. If people are concerned about proximity of drug dispensaries to schools, why is there an alcohol dispensary close to an elementary school on Nassau Street?

There have been recent Letters to the Editor painting cannabis as a dangerous drug. This reminds me of the old movie Reefer Madness. Cannabis is widely used in a manner quite similar to alcohol. Most adults consume it while socializing with friends or relaxing after work. And while some consume it for its medical benefits, others use it for therapeutic purposes. Some consume it to alleviate arthritis, relieve a migraine, or because it helps them fall asleep and get a good night’s rest. Consuming cannabis is simply something that some adults choose to do, and some specifically choose to do it instead of having a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine.  more

To the Editor:

On February 25, it will be six months since an elderly Princeton resident was hit by a car and killed while crossing Rosedale Road at its intersection with the access driveways to Johnson Park School and the Greenway Meadows parking lot. What changes have taken place at this site since that tragic accident? None.

In 1999, Principal Robert Ginsberg and the school’s PTO officers met with then-Mayor Phyllis Marchand to discuss concerns about the intersection. Their main issue was the speed of vehicles on Rosedale Road and drivers’ frequent failures to slow down despite the fact signage warned them they were approaching a school zone. Since that meeting, has the situation improved? No.

Municipal officials have often noted Rosedale Road is a county artery and responsibility lies with county decisionmakers. Our impatient and growing coalition of citizens will certainly take our concerns to Mercer County’s executive and commissioners, but we also expect our mayor and our Council members to demonstrate greater support and more direct advocacy to ensure the safety of our residents.  more

To the Editor:

I was shocked to read that there were 29 pedestrians struck on Princeton streets in the past year, 24 (83 percent!) in marked intersections. Since we have had a very successful trial of the “all pedestrian” system at the corner of Nassau and Van Deventer streets it now seems logical and urgent to implement that system at all intersections in Princeton, whether controlled by the state or the town, irrespective. This can definitely reduce the conflict between pedestrians crossing and drivers turning at these intersections.  

This should also include intersections where University students are crossing streets since the conflict between pedestrians and drivers is particularly apparent in these locations, crossing lights and warning lights to the contrary notwithstanding.  

As I’ve noted before, New Haven uses this system throughout the city; it too has numerous intersections where students and other pedestrians cross busy streets, more safely there because of the “all pedestrian” crossing system. Hopefully, we do not have to wait for another fatality at an intersection to spur the use of a safer system for pedestrians.

David H. Miller, Ph.D.
Hawthorne Avenue

To the Editor:

The tragic death of Pinghua Xu at the intersection of Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive last August should have been the catalyst for significant safety improvements. And yet six months after the accident and almost six years after the intersection was flagged as an area of concern in the New Jersey Safe Routes to School report, pedestrians remain at risk.

Making this intersection safe without impacting the flow of traffic should not be beyond the wit of the local, county, and state authorities. A reduction in the speed limit, better road markings, and improved lighting around the crossing would be a start, but getting drivers to take more care on this stretch of road may be the greater challenge.

I am fortunate to be able to walk my three children to Johnson Park without crossing Rosedale Road, and I believe more families would choose to walk or cycle if a safer crossing was installed. Let’s hope no more lives are lost before this happens. 

Rob Sloan
Fairway Drive

February 9, 2022

To the Editor:

Recently the Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) issued a detailed report which recommends up to three recreational dispensaries in town. This newspaper has received many letters from outraged citizens, and I would like to add my outraged voice about a related issue: the proliferation of retail alcohol dispensaries downtown.

Many letter-writers outraged by the proposal for retail cannabis dispensaries cite concerns which apply equally to the numerous retail alcohol dispensaries in town – not to mention the perhaps hundreds of retail consumption locations, and the fact that Princeton has no limit on the number of “club licenses,” which means that these could literally be located on every street in town, and even inside schools, child care centers, and houses of worship, some of which already distribute alcohol as part of their rituals, if I am not mistaken. 

Letters have also discussed the cost for communities in hosting cannabis dispensaries. Well, take a look at the cost of alcohol. According to the CDC, in New Jersey excessive alcohol use cost the state more than $6 billion in 2010. That’s billion with a B, like the TV show. The cost that these letter writers cite for cannabis dispensaries is chump change by comparison. Plus, these costs were for before COVID came along and we all started drinking more heavily.

Next, people opposed to retail cannabis bring up parking and sustainability. How many of you reading this right now have driven to a restaurant in town and “enjoyed” a drink with your meal? Or if it’s a BYOB restaurant, bought a bottle of wine from a nearby alcohol dispensary? And where parking is horrible and will get worse if the town decides to let employees park wherever they want on our residential “tree” streets. And those streets won’t be treed for long after drunk drivers plow them down. Where’s the sustainability in that? more

To the Editor:

Princeton voters should encourage their elected representatives to vote against the Special Improvement District (SID) ordinance which will be deliberated and voted upon on February 28. Adoption of the ordinance will buy into litigation and cost all taxpayers money down the road. The SID is an additional tax, first imposed on commercial property owners and subsequently may very well increase the tax burden on all property owners.

The state of New Jersey permits municipalities to create Special Improvement Districts in order to redevelop decayed commercial centers in distressed communities. Princeton has the most vibrant commercial center in the state. Princeton is certainly not in need of redevelopment or urban renewal. To adopt the SID ordinance here would be a misuse of the statute and misguided folly. It will surely be challenged in the courts and all the taxpayers of Princeton will have to foot the bill for litigation in a losing cause. more

To the Editor:

As a long-term former board of health member and longtime resident of Princeton, I sent the following comments to the Princeton Board of Health for its February 8 meeting on the agenda item: Health Impacts of Recreational Cannabis Legalization.

1) For a variety of public health and related reasons we need retail cannabis outlets in Princeton like we need the proverbial “hole in the head.”  Kidding aside, the numerous compelling resident letters to Town Topics and otherwise expressed have given very strong reasons why we should not move forward with retail cannabis. The Princeton Board of Health (and health officer’s) responsibility and input are critical in this matter.

2) While medical cannabis is necessary for some, recreational use is not. Promotion of such use via retail stores can be expected to create additional health problems. These include increased smoking, motor vehicle accidents, and related impairment incidents, aside from the message it sends to our youth. This is especially true with cannabis products, the dose of which cannot always be verified.  more

To the Editor:

In 2020, an incredible 78 percent of Princeton residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis for adults age 21+. Statewide, the number was closer to 67 percent in favor, notably larger than the margin by which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump (57 percent to 41 percent) – and that was considered a landslide. Efforts at overturning the presidential election should elicit a deserved eye roll; surely too, the recent attempts to pressure Princeton Council to use zoning ordinances to prevent cannabis dispensaries from opening in town should be met with similar outcry.

The attempts by a small minority to exert outsized political pressure on Council brings to mind similar national efforts to advance unpopular views on issues that otherwise enjoy broad support: whether it’s curtailing women’s reproductive rights, banning books that run afoul of far-right ideologies, or denying free and fair access to vote in communities of color. The recent attempts to block cannabis businesses from opening in Princeton is just another way to misuse local government to subvert the results of an election. Remember that 78 percent number? I’m not even sure that ice cream on a hot day would enjoy that kind of support.

Of course, cannabis dispensaries should be regulated – just like liquor stores, of which Princeton has many. But there’s no reason to have a double standard and banish them to the outskirts of town. When my partner asks me to pick up a bottle of wine, I’m glad it’s convenient – even walkable. I can just stop by a local shop – not get in my car and drive three towns over because of some prohibition-era zoning ordinance. more

February 2, 2022

To the Editor:

When I voted for marijuana legalization, it felt good to make a virtuous decision. Last year, cannabis became legal in New Jersey and municipalities began deciding whether to opt-in/out of hosting recreational dispensaries. The Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) unanimously recommended opening up to three recreational retail cannabis dispensaries in town. Then the Princeton Board of Education publicly voiced practical concerns, which the CTF elected to dismiss. This unusual turn of events seized my attention. Here’s why we should all be concerned:

Opt-in Rate: Many of our neighbors opted out of retail cannabis dispensaries, including Montgomery, West Windsor, Plainsboro, Robbinsville, and Hopewell. Some shop supporters explain N.J.’s high opt-out rate of 71 percent as “temporary caution,” being that cannabis is so new in N.J. However, 67 percent of California towns, over 75 percent in Michigan, and 48 percent of Colorado opted out, and these states are years ahead of N.J. So, the answer isn’t a simple matter of caution. What are some lessons we can learn from markets that are way ahead of N.J.?    more