Westampton Escapes Court Battle Over Marijuana Farm

A medical marijuana business sued a Westampton board that rebuffed its plans at a raucous town meeting last month.  The show-down in Superior Court was scheduled for March 23.     

The lawsuit said Compassionate Care Foundation Inc. found an empty factory in a business zone that allows 34 types of retail stores, light industry, research labs, medical clinics, drug stores, agricultural uses and much more.  But the zoning board decided a pot farm and dispensary were "not contemplated" when the ordinance was passed and did not fit the zone.


The company blasted the decision as "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable" and asked for reimbursement of its legal fees.

Then, it found another location - an industrial park in Egg Harbor - and dropped the suit this week.  But first, the company asked another struggling cannabis company if it was interested in the litigation and the Westampton location. 

Bill Thomas, CEO of Compassionate Care, said his company was willing to pursue a court order that would pave the way for Compassionate Sciences Foundation to get an elusive zoning permit in Westampton.  "It's not like we're competitors," Thomas said, noting state law allows only 2 marijuana businesses to operate in all of South Jersey. 

In return, Compassionate Sciences would reimburse Thomas' company the $70,000 it spent in professional planning and legal fees on the zoning application and lawsuit.

Andrei Bogolubov, Compassionate Science's spokesman, said it "was kind of him to ask" especially since his company's plans also were rejected by a zoning board in Burlington County.  But the empty factory was too large, he said, and his company prefers to go to a place "where we are welcome."  

After a six-month search, it still has not found a home.