Cannabis complicates council campaign

The rapidly growing billion-dollar legal cannabis market is having a far-reaching and dramatic impact on numerous industries in an atmosphere of constantly changing state laws but questions raised regarding the legality and ethical propriety of one community’s handling of marijuana matters could make a lopsided political majority meaningless as elections near.

There are five candidates running for two seats on the West Amwell Township Council, a governing body that has been controlled solely by Republicans since the end of West Amwell Township Committee Democrat William Corboy’s term in 2009, when the governing body still only had three members.

There are two seats up for grabs because residents approved expanding the township committee from three members to five in 2015.

James Cally, who has been mayor since Rich Zach was elected as county commissioner, shepherded ordinances into law that citizens are saying endanger public safety and health.

Cally is seeking another term with newcomer David A. Pasquale on the Republican ticket.

They are opposed by the Democratic nominees Brian Fitting and Meghan Hudson, but Hudson is also endorsed by Republican write-in candidate Dee Yoder.

Hudson Yoder signs have cropped up throughout the town as the two women wage a grassroots campaign rooted on their strong opposition to the unethical way Township officials behind the marijuana ordinances are also on the cannivas company’s payroll.

Republicans usually run the table in elections for West Amwell Township Council. This year’s authorization of plans to convert a church building into a marijuana factory has raised the ire of local residents.

Fitting is a 49-year-old member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Meghan Huson is a Program Specialist at the NJ Department of Community Affairs, who manages grants totaling over $45 million after working for non-profit organizations, where she provided financial guidance to low income New Yorkers, survivors of domestic violence, and victims of sex trafficking.

She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Appalachian State University and a B.S. in Political Science from Guilford College.

Diane “Dee” Yoder and Meghan Hudson met while organizing with other concerned residents regarding the first cannabis factory application to go in front of the township planning board.

They were two of the ten founding members of Save the Amwells, a group of concerned residents who advocated to get protections in place at the planning board level against a cannabis factory.

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