A cannabis cultivation facility is coming to Shamong Township.
Despite concerns about safety and potential impact on the area’s well-water system, the township’s Joint Land Use Board on Jan. 16 unanimously approved the application of Pure Cultivations LLC to construct a 68,030-square-foot indoor cannabis grow facility in the Pinelands Village industrial district.
Company attorney Kevin Sheenan and owner Michael Ruddero presented the application over two meetings, the first in November.
“This application is a permitted use in the industrial park zone,” Sheenan said of what will be a Class 1 facility. “It does not require any bulk variances.”
Ahead of the second Joint Land Use Board meeting, Pure Cultivations submitted a revised site plan that addressed the concerns of township officials and residents, including adding paths for emergency vehicles around two additional sides of the building, a storm-water management plan, a noise report, odor and a meeting with a Shamong fire official.
Pure Cultivations plans to construct its site in two phases. Phase I proposes the construction of an approximately 9,800-square-foot building to house administrators and provide storage.
After hearing additional testimony, board member Gene Lera motioned to approve the application, noting he appreciated the applicant’s additional testimony and reports addressing concerns.
“The last two concerns I had were related to security,” Lera explained, noting that Pure Cultivations has agreed to work out any issues with fire officials before construction of phase II.
“I was happy that the state police showed up here tonight,” Lera added of the board meeting. “It sounds like statewide security is not much a blip on the radar with these types of facilities thus far.”
A trooper on the state police force – which patrols four towns in the area, including Shamong – was on hand to address any concerns.
“Security with these types of facilities is pretty tight,” said the officer.
Pure Cultivations has identified Sapphire Risk Advisory Group as its security consultant. The group has worked with 70 operating cannabis businesses in the U.S. It will implement alarm systems at the cannabis facility, back up its systems and provide 24-hour video surveillance that must be archived for 30 days.
State police say they will continue to improve those efforts.
“With the amount of calls for service within four towns – 265 square miles – response time is looked at every month,” the trooper at the meeting explained, noting some calls take precedent.
Pure Cultivations examined the issue of water usage and if diversion/special permits were required through the state Department of Environmental Protection. If the usage reaches 100,000 gallons per day, the permit is needed, according to Michael Citerone, the applicant’s engineer. The state’s standard may change to 50,000 gallons per day.
The cannabis facility’s amount of usage is estimated at 30,000 gallons per day, according to the applicants.
The Joint Land Use Board approved the preliminary site plan for phase II, meaning Pure Cultivations can come back before the board and present its phase II application for formal approval. Phase II cannot begin until after a year of operations, per Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) requirements that prohibit converting to a full-scale license before that, Ruddero noted at the November board meeting.
“Once Pure Cultivations received the proper license, the plan is to break ground on phase II at the earliest, which would be late 2025 to early 2026 with phase II being fully operational by 2027,” he said.
The CRC requires all cannabis licenses be renewed annually. Phase I would have 15 to 20 employees and phase II would require an additional 35 to 40, Ruddero added.