The co-owner of a proposed medical cannabis dispensary and grow house on Adamston Road in Brick Township said she will continue to seek approval for the facility, but only after personal disputes with some objectors to the application are settled.
“We’re definitely not abandoning the project, that’s for sure,” said Anne Davis, a local attorney who co-owns Jersey Shore Therapeutic Health Care (JSTHC), the proposed dispensary, known as an alternative treatment center.
No dates have been set for a hearing on the matter to continue before the township’s zoning board, but behind the scenes, disputes between the would-be dispensary operators and several neighbors have gotten increasingly personal and vicious. Davis said she is considering filing litigation against several residents whose homes neighbor the Adamston Road plot over what she called “false and defamatory” statements posted online that could affect her reputation and business. Meanwhile, one of the neighbors filed a police report and is pressing harassment charges against Joel Allcock, the chief operating officer of the company, over an alleged exchange that occurred at a previous zoning board meeting.
Davis said a number of people in opposition to the dispensary have also begun a campaign to contact the bar association that could affect her legal career. She also said they have falsely stated that Allcock had been arrested as a “drug dealer.”
A background check showed that Allcock had previous convictions for bookmaking in 1997 in Rhode Island (which Davis said centered on a football bet), driving with a suspended license in 1995 in Rhode Island, and simple possession of marijuana in 1997, also in Rhode Island. There is no record showing any charges or convictions of distributing illegal substances.
Back in Brick, a police report states that Marcel Diaz, who filed the harassment charge, said Allcock was “being aggressive and threatening” after a zoning board meeting Nov. 19 ended in a cancellation – a setback for the dispensary proposal. Diaz alleges Allcock said, “I’m going to put this place right in your fucking backyard,” to which Diaz replied, “Obviously not tonight.” The report recognized that the incident never turned physical and both parties eventually left.
Dueling Facebook pages between the parties involved have posted various public records delving into personal matters, as well as photographs of those involved. Davis said that some of what has been posted against her and Allcock has been false and she has retained counsel and investigators.
“We had to retain counsel, and unfortunately we’re going to have to litigate with some of the objectors who are making false and defamatory statements – that has to be addressed,” she said. “I won’t go forward with one more hearing until it’s addressed.”
Davis said none of the potential complaints have been filed, but “a lot’s going on behind the scenes.”
“Our mission right now is handling our reputation in this town,” she said.
The last hearing on the proposal, held Jan. 9, ended in controversy after two attorneys representing objectors – Edward Liston and Robert C. Shea – discovered that notices required under the law to be sent to neighbors were not delivered within the requisite timeframe. Shorebeat filed an OPRA request with the township seeking a copy of the notices. In an affidavit, a staff member with attorney John Paul Doyle, who is representing JSTHC, certified that the notices were mailed Dec. 26, however the Dec. 26 postmark was applied from a Pitney-Bowes machine, presumably at the law office. An examination of the tracking numbers from each of the notices (which were also obtained by Shorebeat through the request) showed the notices were actually sent Jan. 3. The law requires 14 days’ notice.
Davis said she expects a new date will be selected soon. It may be in March, she added, but nothing is definite, pending the outcome of the ongoing dispute.
“We don’t have a new date yet, and we did want a little bit more time since we have investigators working on all of this,” she said. “We have to wrangle in what’s going on on that front.”