Verano Holdings, one of the nation's largest medical marijuana cultivators, has moved into a former Walmart building on Route 22, to the dismay of some neighbors in Readington, New Jersey.
Some neighbors say the smell from the facility is making them crazy, saying it’s so bad they can’t even go outside. No marijuana products are sold at the facility, it's strictly cultivation.
About eight months ago, neighbors say they started smelling what they thought were skunks, but it turns out it was the growing operation. The land is zoned for agriculture use, and Verano was granted a license to operate in early 2020.
Some neighbors say they had no idea marijuana would take over the retail space previously run by Walmart, and want to know why a company considered to be one of the leading producers of medical marijuana in the country simply can't control the smell.
“I don't think the state of New Jersey is ready for any of this,” says Lyle Armstrong, of Readington Township. “Nobody is done their homework. Somebody approved this. They rushed it through, and there's guinea pigs out there. You can see, I'm the main guinea pig.”
Sixty-eight neighbors have signed a petition calling for the township to do something about the odors.
News 12 is waiting to hear reaction from Readington Township. Numerous calls have been placed to police, and a neighbor says they are no longer responding to any calls regarding odors from the growing operation.
Calls have also been placed with Verano and the New Jersey DEP.
The Walmart closed back in 2018, and left the giant space available.